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Tkt Writings if 


The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660-1783. 

The Influence of Sea Power upon the French Revolu- 
tion and Empire, 1793-1811. i rob. 

Sea Power in Id Relations to the War of 1811. i volt. 

The Intcmt of America in Sea Power, Proem and 

The Life of Nelson, the Embodiment of the Sea Power 

of Great Britain, i voU. 
Type* of Naval Officers. 
Retrospect and Prospect. 

Lessons of the War with Spain, and other Article.. 
The Problem of Asia, and Its Effect upon International 


Some Neglected Aspects of War. 
Naval Administration and Warfare. 
The Interest of America in International Condltiom. 
Naval Stratecy. 

The Major Operations of the Navies in the War of 

American Ii 
The Harvest Wkhin. 

* ADMIRAL Au KI I , U. S. N. 












Copyright, i8yo, 1893, 1897, 1899, /poo, 

1901, 1902, 1905, 1907, '90S, /p/0, /p//, 


Copyright, 1918, 


All rights rttfrvfd 


TN his volume of reminiscences, " From Sail to 
* Steam," Rear Admiral Mahan gives us his 
father's opinion and his own later judgment re- 
garding his choice of the navy as a life work. " My 
father told me he thought me less fit for a military 
than for a civil profession, having watched me care- 
fully. I think myself now that he was right; for 
though I have no cause to complain of unsuccess, 
I believe I should have done better elsewhere." 1 

The father, Dennis Hart Mahan, was a graduate 
of West Point, in later life a distinguished professor 
of engineering at the Military Academy, and thus 
well qualified to weigh his son's character and the 
requirements of a military career. The verdict of 
both father and son, moreover, may appear borne 
out by the fact that, while the name of Mahan is 
more widely known today than that of any other 
American naval officer, his fame rests, not on his 
achievements as a ship or fleet commander, but 
as a great naval historian and student of naval 

Whatever the apparent wisdom of the choice at 
the time, it was in the event fortunate both for him- 
self and for the naval profession. His long and 
varied service as an officer afloat and ashore gave 
him an invaluable background for the study of 

1 "From Sail to Steam," p. xiv. 

vi Introduction 

naval history and international affairs. On the 
other hand, his writings have brought home to 
every maritime nation the importance of sea power, 
and have stimulated in his own profession an in- 
terest in naval history and naval science which has 
helped to keep it abreast the progress of the age. 
This direct bearing of his professional experience 
upon his writings adds significance to the details of 
his life in the navy. 

Alfred Thayer Mahan entered the Naval Acad- 
emy at Annapolis, Maryland, September 30, 1856. 
Born at West Point, September 27, 1840, he was 
at the time of his entrance but three days above 
sixteen. Like many another candidate for the navy, 
he solicited his own appointment, obtaining it finally 
through the influence of Jefferson Davis, who had 
studied under his father at West Point, and was at 
this time Secretary of War. Having attended 
Columbia College for two years preceding, the boy 
was permitted by a concession of which this is 
believed to be the only instance in the annals of the 
Academy to omit the first year's work and enter 
with the " Youngster " class, or " class of '55 date,*' 
according to the nomenclature then used. Up to 
the year 1851 the midshipmen's course had con- 
sisted of five years at sea followed by one at the 
Academy. Mahan entered in the autumn after the 
graduation of the last class under the old scheme; 
and it was to the more mature, "sea-going" char- 
acter of former classes that he attributes the total 
absence of hazing in his day. The practice was 
'* not so much reprobated as ignored." It came in 

Introduction vii 

later, when the Academy was moved to Newport 
during the Civil War, and " new ideals were evolved 
by a mass of schoolboys, severed from those elder 
associates with the influence of whom no professors 
nor officers can vie." 1 

In the dusty files of Academy registers for that 
period one may read the names of boys famous in 
later years. George Dewey was a class ahead of 
Mahan; Schley and Sampson were respectively one 
class and two classes behind. On graduation, 
Dewey stood fifth in a class of fifteen; Mahan 
second in a class of twenty, with a record apparently 
very close to the leader's; and Sampson stood first. 
In his last year the future historian was first in 
seamanship, physics, political science, and moral 
science, third in naval tactics and gunnery, fourth in 
" steam engine," and fifth in astronomy and navi- 
gation. The year before he had excelled in physics, 
rhetoric, and Spanish. The details are noteworthy 
chiefly as they show the subjects of the old-time 
curriculum, in which so-called practical branches 
were less predominant than they are today. Of 
Mahan's class, which numbered forty-nine at the 
time of entrance, twenty-nine had dropped back or 
resigned before the end of the course. 

After a cruise in South American waters in the 
old frigate Congress, Mahan at once received his 
commission as lieutenant, August 31, 1861, and 
soon afterward an appointment as second in com- 
mand of the steam corvette Pocahontas, then in the 
Potomac flotilla. It illustrates the rapid promotion 

1 "From Sail to Steam," p. 55. 

viii Introduction 

of those war-time days that each member of his 
class received similar advancement in the first year 
of the war. In the Pocahontas he came under fire 
in the attack on Port Royal, and afterward spent 
many weary months in blockade duty, first in the 
Pocahontas off the south Atlantic coast, and later in 
the SeminoU off Sabine Pass, Texas. This latter 
station, Mahan remarks, " was a jumping-off place, 
the end of nowhere." " Day after day we lay in- 
active roll, roll." The monotony was broken by 
a pleasant eight months at the Naval Academy in 
Newport and a " practice cruise " to England in 
the Macedonian; and in the last year of the war he 
saw more varied service on the staff of Rear Admiral 
Dahlgren, again on the Atlantic coast blockade. 

Commissioned lieutenant commander in 1865, 
Mahan passed the ensuing twenty years in the cus- 
tomary routine of alternate sea and shore duty. In 
1867-1869, a long cruise in the steam frigate 
Iroquois to Japan, via Guadeloupe, Rio, Cape 
Town, Madagascar, Aden, and Bombay, gave op- 
portunity, unusual even in the navy, to see the 
world, and brought him to Kobe in time to witness 
the opening of new treaty ports and the last days 
of medieval Japan. 

In 1 885, when he had reached the rank of captain 
and was forty-five years of age, he had yet h;ul little 
opportunity to display the distinctive talents which 
were to win him permanent fame. Partly, perhaps, 
in consequence of a book by his pen entitled " The 
Gulf and Inland Waters" and published two years 
before, but more likely as a result of the shrewd 

Introduction ix 

estimate which naval officers form regarding their 
fellows in the service, he was requested at this time 
to give a series of lectures on naval history and 
tactics at the Naval War College, then just estab- 
lished at Newport, Rhode Island. His acceptance 
of this duty marks a turning point in his career. 

The call reached him in the Wachusett off the 
west coast of South America. It was nearly two 
years later, in August, 1886, when he took up his 
residence at the college, succeeding Rear Admiral 
Luce as president. A change of political adminis- 
tration in the meantime had brought about a less 
favorable policy toward this new departure in naval 
education, with the result that, to quote Mahan 
again, the college " was reefed close down, looking 
out for squalls at any moment from any quarter," 
for the next four or five years. It bears evidence 
to his tact and tenacity, and it was not the least of 
his accomplishments for the navy, that he piloted 
the institution safely through this crucial period, 
with scant appropriations or none at all, in the face 
of a hostile Secretary of the Navy and a lukewarm 

After seven years devoted chiefly to the War 
College, Mahan went to sea for the last time as 
commander of the cruiser Chicago in the European 
squadron. At this time " The Influence of Sea 
Power upon History " had already been published, 
and the volume on the French Revolution and 
Empire was nearly ready for the press. Upon re- 
questing postponement of sea duty until its com- 
pletion, he was informed by his superior in the 


Bureau of Navigation that it was " not the business 
of a naval officer to write books/ 1 The remark 
wmt narrow, for the naval or any other profession 
would soon stagnate without the stimulus of free 
discussion and study, which finds its best outlet 
through the press; and it showed slight recognition 
of the immense value to the navy and the nation 
of Mahan's writings. Still it was well for the 
author that he made this last cruise his only ex- 
perience with a ship of the new fleet. If the im- 
portance of his first book was not realized at home 
and it is stated that he had great difficulty in finding 
a publisher it was fully recognized abroad. His 
arrival in England was taken as an opportunity to 
pay a national tribute of appreciation, of which the 
degrees conferred by both Oxford and Cambridge 
were but one expression. There is a slightly 
humorous aspect to the competition of American 
universities to award similar honors upon his return. 
Retiring in 1896 after forty years of service, he 
was recalled to act as a member of the Naval War 
Board from May 9, 1898, until the close of the 
War with Spain. His fellow members were Rear 
Admiral Montgomery Sicard and Captain A. S. 
Crowninshield. This board practically controlled 
the naval strategy of the war. Of its deliberations 
and the relative influence of its members we have no 
record; but the naval dispositions were effective, 
and, aside from the location of the " Flying 
Squadron " at Hampton Roads as a concession to 
fears of coast cities, they are fully approved by 
Mahan in his writings. 


His choice a year later as one of the American 
delegates to the first Peace Conference at The Hague 
was eminently fitting in view of his thorough knowl- 
edge of international relations and the rules govern- 
ing naval warfare. In determining the attitude of 
the American delegation, he took a strong stand 
against any agreement that would contract our 
freedom of action with regard to the Monroe 
Doctrine, and against immunity of private property 
at sea. The arguments against this latter policy he 
afterward stated effectively in print l and in a memo- 
randum to the Navy Department. With the ful- 
fillment of this duty, his public services, aside from 
his work as a writer, came to a close. 

In the navy, as in other walks of life, an in- 
compatibility is often assumed and often unjustly 
between mastery of theory and skill in practice, 
between the thoughtful student and the capable man 
of action; and there is no denying that among his 
contemporaries this assumption was current with 
regard to Mahan. While a conclusion is difficult in 
such a matter, the case may well rest on the follow- 
ing statement by a friend and fellow officer: " Duty, 
in whatever form it came, was sacred. Invariably 
he gave to its performance the best that was in him. 
That he distinguished himself pre-eminently on ship- 
board cannot be claimed. Luck or circumstances 
denied him the opportunity of doing things heroic, 
and his modesty those purely spectacular. As a 
subordinate or as captain of a single ship, what he 
did was well done. No further proof of his qualities 

1 See pp. 328-341. 


in this respect is needed than the fact that, at the 
outbreak of the Civil War, when finishing his mid- 
shipman's cruise, he was asked by a shipmate, an 
officer who expected a command, to go with him as 
* first lieutenant.' To his colleagues of the <>K1 
navy this invitation was the highest form of pro- 
fessional approval. The fates decreed that the 
wider field should not be his wherein, as com- 
mander-in-chief of a fleet in war time, he could 
have exhibited the mastery he surely possessed of 
that art with which his name will forever be in- 
dissolubly linked." ' 

From the same source may be taken a passage 
of more intimate portrayal. " In person Mahan 
was tall, spare, erect, with blue eyes, fair com- 
plexion, hair and beard originally sandy. He 
respected the body as the temple of his soul, and he 
paid it the homage of abstemious living, of outdoor 
games and abundant exercise. In manner he was 
modest to excess, dignified, courteous. Reticent in 
speech with people in general, those who enjoyed 
the rare privilege of his intimacy knew him to be 
possessed of a keen sense of humor and a fund of 
delightful anecdotes. To such friends he was a 
most charming companion, so different from the 
grave, self-contained philosopher he appeared to 
the rest and less favored of his acquaintance. His 
home life was ideal." 

The lectures delivered at the Naval War College 
were the basis of "The Influence of Sea Power 

1 Rear Admiral Bradley A. FUke, U. S. Naval Instituu, January- 
February, 1915. P- 

Introduction xiii 

upon History." The author tells us how the central 
idea came to him in the library of the English Club 
at Lima, Peru, while reading Momsen's " History 
of Rome." " It suddenly struck me ... how 
different things might have been could Hannibal 
have invaded Italy by sea, as the Romans often 
had Africa, instead of by the long land route." 
A year later, when he returned to the United States, 
the plan of the lectures was already formed : " I 
would investigate coincidently the general history 
and the naval history of the past two centuries with 
a view to demonstrating the influence of the events 
of the one upon the other." Written between May 
and September of 1886, and delivered as lectures 
during the next four years, the book was carefully 
revised before its publication in the spring of 1890. 

This book exerted at the time, and has continued 
to exert, a widespread influence; and while its 
author's reputation has been increased by his later 
writings, it remains his best known and greatest 
work. One reason for this is that it states his funda- 
mental teaching, and in a form easy to grasp. The 
preface and the first chapter, which cover but eighty- 
nine pages, survey rapidly the rise and decline of 
great sea powers and the national characteristics 
affecting maritime development. The rest of the 
book, treating in detail the period between 1660 and 
1783, reinforces the conclusions already stated. 

Timeliness also contributed to its success. The 
book furnished authoritative guidance in a period 
of transition and new departures in international 
affairs. For nearly twenty years, under Bismarck, 

xiv Introduction 

Germany had been consolidating the empire estab- 
lished in 1871. When William II ascended the 
throne in 1888, the ambitions of both ruler and 
nation were already turned toward colonial ex- 
pansion and world power. A German Admiralty 
separate from the War Office was established in 
1889; Heligoland was secured a year later; the 
Kiel Canal was nearing completion. In England, 
the Naval Defense Act of 1889 provided an in- 
crease of seventy ships during the next four years. 
The rivals against whom she measured her naval 
strength were still France and Russia. In the 
United States, Congress in 1890 authorized three 
battleships, the first vessels of this class to be added 
to the American navy. During the following ten 
years the rivalry of nations was chiefly in com- 
mercial and colonial aggrandisement, marked by the 
final downfall of Spain's colonial empire and a 
greatly increased importance attached to control of 
the sea. 

For the nations taking part in this expansion, 
Mahan was a kind of gospel, furnishing texts for 
every discussion of naval policy. " After his first 
book," says a French writer, " and especially from 
1895 on, Mahan supplied the sound basis for all 
thought on naval and maritime affairs; it was seen 
clearly that sea power was the principle which, 
adhered to or departed from, would determine 
whether empires should stand or fall." ' 

To Great Britain in particular the book came as 

1 M La Maltroe de la Mer," Auguste Moircau, Rrvue det Deux Mondet, 
October, tool. 

Introduction xv 

a timely analysis of the means by which she had 
grown in wealth and dominion. This was indeed 
no discovery. Nearly three centuries earlier Francis 
Bacon had written, " To be master of the sea is an 
abridgment [epitome] of monarchy ... he that 
commands the sea is at great liberty, and may take as 
much and as little of the war as he will." 1 Before 
and after Bacon, England had acted upon this 
principle. But it remained for Mahan to give the 
thesis full expression, to demonstrate it by concrete 
illustration, and to apply it to modern conditions. 
" For the first time," writes the British naval his- 
torian, Sir Julian Corbett, " naval history was 
placed on a philosophical basis. From the mass of 
facts which had hitherto done duty for naval his- 
tory, broad generalizations were possible. The 
ears of statesmen and publicists were opened, and 
a new note began to sound in world politics. Re- 
garded as a political pamphlet in the higher sense 
for that is how the famous book is best characterized 
it has few equals in the sudden and far-reaching 
effect it produced on political thought and action." 2 
Germany was not slow to take to heart this in- 
terpretation of the vital dependence of world em- 
pire on sea power. The Kaiser read the book, 
annotated its pages, and placed copies in every ship 
of the German fleet. 3 It was soon translated not 

l "Of Kingdoms and Estates." 

a "The Revival of Naval History," Contemporary Review. Novem- 
ber, 1917. While the term "political pamphlet suggests the influence 
of the book abroad, it is obviously inappropriate in describing its pur- 
pose and method of treatment. 

1 "The Kaiser's Dreams of Sea Power," Archibald Hurd, Fortnightly 
Review, August, 1906. 


only into German but into French, Japanese, Rus- 
sian, Italian, and Spanish. This and later works 
by the same author were perhaps most diligently 
studied by officers of the Japanese navy, then rising 
rapidly to the strength manifested in the Russian 
war. " As far as known to myself,** writes Mahan, 
14 more of my works have been done into Japanese 
than into any other one tongue.** l The debt of all 
students of naval warfare is well expressed by a 
noted Italian officer and writer, " Mahan, who 
is the great teacher of us all." * 

What has been said of " The Influence of Sea 
Power upon History '* applies in varying degrees 
to the sixteen historical works and collections of 
essays which appeared in the ensuing twenty-five 
years. While extending the field covered by the 
earlier book, they maintained in general its high 
qualities. The most important of these, "The In- 
fluence of Sea Power upon the French Revolution 
and Empire,'* covers the period from 1793 to 1812. 
This and the studies of the American Revolution 
and the War of 1812 form with his first book a 
continuous historical series from 1660 to 1815. 
The " Life of Nelson *' and " Life of Farragut '* 
are standard professional biographies of these two 
commanders, who, if we accept Mahan's opinion, 
rank respectively first and second among naval 
leaders. The best of his thought on contemporary 
naval warfare is gathered up in his " Naval 
Strategy,* 1 published in 1911. Based on lectures 


"Captain Romeo Bcrnot; ,, the editor, April 25, 1918. 

Introduction xvii 

first delivered in 1887, and afterward frequently 
expanded and modified to meet changing conditions, 
this book, while invaluable to the professional 
student, lacks something of the continuity and 
clearness of structure of the historical works. 

The authoritativeness of these writings, it may 
be repeated, was strengthened by the author's 
technical equipment and long years of practical ex- 
perience. Moreover, as Mr. Roosevelt has said, 
" Mahan was the only great naval writer who also 
possessed the mind of a statesman of the first 
class." 1 His concern always was not merely with 
the facts of history but with the " logic of events " 
and their lessons for today. 

Following his retirement, Admiral Mahan wrote 
more frequently and freely on problems of the 
present and future. Of the subjects treated, some 
were distinctly professional the speed and size 
of battleships, the size, composition, and disposition 
of fleets, modifications in the international codes 
affecting naval warfare, naval events in contem- 
porary wars. Others entered the wider field of 
world politics, voicing the author's sincere belief in 
American colonial expansion and active participa- 
tion in world affairs, in the need of a navy sufficient 
to make our influence felt, in the limitations as well 
as the usefulness of arbitration, in the continuance 
of force as an important factor in international 

In such discussions, he wrote without the slightest 
trace of jingoism or sensation mongering; and it 

1 "A Great Public Servant," The Outlook, January 13, 1915. 

xviii Introduction 

would be a fanatic advocate of immediate dis- 
armament and universal arbitration who would 
deny the steadying and beneficent effect of his op- 
position, with its grip on realities and steadfast 
respect for truth. Whatever he wrote was not only 
backed by firm conviction but inspired by the highest 

His style naturally varied somewhat with the 
audience and the theme. His historical writings 
have been justly described as burdened with quali- 
fications, and marked by a laborious fullness of 
statement, which strains the attention, while it adds 
weight and dignity to the presentation. This in 
general is true of the histories; but there are many 
passages in these where the subject inspires him to 
genuine eloquence. In the " Life of Nelson " and 
"Types of Naval Officers" there is little of the 
defect mentioned, and there are few more enter- 
taining volumes of naval reminiscence than " From 
Sail to Steam.'* ' The besetting anxiety of my 
soul," writes the author himself, " was to be exact 
and lucid. I might not succeed, but my wish was 
indisputable. To be accurate in facts and correct 
in conclusions, both as to application and expression, 
dominated all other motives." J One might dispense 
with reams of " fine writing " for a page of prose 
guided by these standards. 

On December i, 1914, Rear Admiral Mahan 
died suddenly of heart failure. A month before, 
he had left his home at Quogue, Long Island, and 
come to Washington to pursue investigations for a 

1 ".From Sail to Steam," p. 288. 

Introduction xix 

history of American expansion and its bearing on 
sea power. His death, occurring four months after 
the outbreak of hostilities in Europe, was perhaps 
hastened by constant study of the diplomatic and 
military events of the war, the approach of which 
he had clearly foreseen, as well as America's vital 
interest in the Allied cause. It was unfortunate 
that his political and professional wisdom should 
have been lost at that time. 

His work, however, was largely accomplished. 
By his influence on both public and professional 
opinion, by prevision and warm advocacy, he had 
done much to further the execution of many im- 
portant naval and national policies. Among such 
may be mentioned the peace-time concentration of 
fleets in preparation for war, the abandonment of 
a strictly defensive naval policy, the systematic 
study of professional problems, the strengthening 
of our position in the Caribbean, the fortification of 
Panama. " His interest," writes Mr. Roosevelt, 
" was in the larger side of his subjects; he was more 
concerned with the strategy than with the tactics of 
both naval war and statesmanship." In this larger 
field his writings will retain a value little affected by 
the lapse of time. 


June, 1918. 






ING 8 

A Historical Instance 8 

What is Practical? 10 




Central Position, Interior Lines, Communica- 
tions 50 

Concentration 60 


I. Situation 69 

II. Military Strength 70 

III. Resources 74 


Communications 75 

Importance of Sea Communications 76 




Command of the Sea Decisive 98 



xxii Contents 



Opposing Elements 113 

The British System 118 

The United States System 122 





France under Louis XIV 137 


England after the Peace of Utrecht, 1715 . . . 141 





Rodney and De Guichen, April 17, 1780 . . 159 


Graves and De Grasse off the Chesapeake ... 164 



22. HOWE'S VICTORY OF JUNE i, 1794 175 




"The Nelson Touch" 200 

The Battle 208 

Commerce Warfare after Trafalgar 223 

26. GENERAL STRATEGY OF THE WAR OF 1 81 2 . . . 229 

Results of the Northern Campaign 235 

(27) LESSONS OF THE WAR NMIH Si- \i\ 241 

The Possibilities of a " Fleet in Being "... 241 

Contents xxiii 




The Port Arthur Squadron in the Russo-Jap- 
anese War 256 

Divided Forces 269 




The Annexation of Hawaii 285 


y Anglo-American Community of Interests . . . 288 




The Bulwark of British Sea Power 306 


Great Britain and the Continental Powers . . 309 













INDEX 365 






THE BALTIC AND ITS APPROACHES . . . Facing page 185 







A | A HE history of Sea Power is largely, though by 
no means solely, a narrative of contests between 
nations, of mutual rivalries, of violence frequently 
culminating in war. The profound influence of sea 
commerce upon the wealth and strength of countries 
was clearly seen long before the true principles which 
governed its growth and prosperity were detected. 
To secure to one's own people a disproportionate 
share of such benefits, every effort was made to 
exclude others, either by the peaceful legislative 
methods of monopoly or prohibitory regulations, or, 
when these failed, by direct violence. The clash of 
interests, the angry feelings roused by conflicting 
attempts thus to appropriate the larger share, if not 
the whole, of the advantages of commerce, and of 
distant unsettled commercial regions, led to wars. 
On the other hand, wars arising from other causes 
have been greatly modified in their conduct and issue 
by the control of the sea. Therefore the history of 
sea power, while embracing in its broad sweep all 

* "The Influence of Sea Ppwer upon History," pp. 1-2, 8-ip. 

Pan I: Navtil Principles 

that tends to make a people great upon the sea or 
by the sea, is largely a military history; and it is in 
this aspect that it will be mainly, though not exclu- 
sively, regarded in the following pages. 

A study of the military history of the past, such 
as this, is enjoined by great military leaders as essen- 
tial to correct ideas ajid to the skillful conduct of war 
in the future. Napoleon names among the cam- 
paigns to be studied by the aspiring soldier, those of 
Alexander, Hannibal, and Caesar, to whom gun- 
powder was unknown; and there is a substantial 
agreement among professional writers that, while 
many of the conditions of war vary from age to age 
with the progress of weapons, there are certain 
teachings In the school of history which remain con- 
stant, and being, therefore, of universal application, 
can be elevated to the rank of general principles. 
For the same reason the study of the sea history of 
the past will be found instructive, by its illustration 
of the general principles of maritime war, notwith- 
standing the great changes that have been brought 
about in naval weapons by the scientific advances of 
the past half century, and by the introduction of 
rn as the motive power. [The pages omitted 
point out lessons to be drawn from galley and 
sailing-ship warfare. Km K>K. ] 

Before hostile armies or fleets are brought into 
contact (a word which perhaps better than any other 
indicates the dividing line between tactics anil strat- 
egy), there are a number of questions to be decided, 
covering the whole plan of operations throughout 
the theater of war. Among these are the proper 

The Value of Historical Study 

function of the navy in the war; its true objective; 
the point or points upon which it should be concen- 
trated; the establishment of depots of coal and sup- 
plies; the maintenance of communications between 
these depots and the home base; the military value 
of commerce-destroying as a decisive or a secondary 
operation of war; the system upon which commerce- 
destroying can be most efficiently conducted, whether 
by scattered cruisers or by holding in force some 
vital center through which commercial shipping must 
pass. All these are strategic questions, and upon all 
these history has a great deal to say. There has 
been of late a valuable discussion in English naval 
circles as to the comparative merits of the policies 
of two great English admirals, Lord Howe and Lord 
St. Vincent, in the disposition of the English navy 
when at war with France. The question is purely 
strategic, and is not of mere historical interest; it is 
of vital importance now, and the principles upon 
which its decision rests are the same now as then. 
St. Vincent's policy saved England from invasion, 
and in the hands of Nelson and his brother admirals 
led straight up to Trafalgar. 

It is then particularly in the field of naval strategy 
that the teachings of the past have a value which is 
in no degree lessened. They are there useful not 
only as illustrative of principles, but also as prece- 
dents, owing to the comparative permanence of the 
conditions. This is less obviously true as to tactics, 
when the fleets come into collision at the point to 
which strategic considerations have brought them. 
The unresting progress of mankind causes continual 

Part I: Naval Principles 

change in the weapons; and with that must come a 
continual change in the manner of fighting, in the 
handling and disposition of troops or ships on the 
battlefield. Hence arises a tendency on the part of 
many connected with maritime matters to think that 
no advantage is to be gained from the study of 
former experiences; that time so used is wasted. 
This view, though natural, not only leaves wholly out 
of sight those broad strategic considerations which 
lead nations to put fleets afloat, which direct the 
sphere of their action, and so have modified and will 
continue to modify the history of the world, but is 
one-sided and narrow even as to tactics. The battles 
of the past succeeded or failed according as they 
were fought in conformity with the principles of 
war; and the seaman who carefully studies the causes 
of success or failure will not only detect and gradu- 
ally assimilate these principles, but will also acquire 
increased aptitude in applying them to the tactical 
use of the ships and weapons of his own day. He 
will observe also that changes of tactics have not 
only taken place after changes in weapons, which 
necessarily is the case, but that the interval between 
such changes has been unduly long. This doubtless 
arises from the fact that an improvement of weapons 
is due to the energy of one or two men, while changes 
ictics have to overcome the inertia of a conserva- 
tive class; but it is a great evil. It can be remedied 
only by a candid recognition of each change, by care- 
ful study of the powers and limitations of the new 
ship or weapon, and by a consequent adaptation of 
the method of using it to the qualities it possesses, 

The Value of Historical Study 

which will constitute its tactics. History shows that 
it is vain to hope that military men generally will be 
at the pains to do this, but that the one who does will 
go into battle with a great advantage, a lesson 
in itself of no mean value. 

2. ' THEORETICAL " versus " PRACTICAL " 

A Historical Instance 

* I A HERE have long been two conflicting opinions 
^ as to the best way to fit naval officers, and in- 
deed all men called to active pursuits, for the dis- 
charge of their duties. The one, of the so-called 
practical man, would find in early beginning and con- 
stant remaining afloat all that is requisite; the other 
will find the best result in study, in elaborate mental 
preparation. I have no hesitation in avowing that 
personally I think that the United States Navy is 
erring on the latter side; but, be that as it may, 
there seems little doubt that the mental activity 
which exists so widely is not directed toward the 
management of ships in battle, to the planning of 
naval campaigns, to the study of strategic and tac- 
tical problems, nor even to the secondary matters 
connected with the maintenance of warlike opera- 
tions at sea. 2 Now we have had the results of the 
two opinions as to the training of naval officers 
pretty well tested by the experience of two great 
maritime nations, France and England, each of 
which, not so much by formulated purpose as by 
national bias, committed itself unduly to the one or 

1 "Naval Administration and Warfare," Objects of the Naval War 
College (1888), pp. i93-94. 233-240- 

* In a preceding passage the author show* that American naval 
thought has been preoccupied with problems of material. EDITOE. 

" Theoretical " v. " Practical " Training 9 

the other. The results were manifested in our War 
of Independence, which gave rise to the only well- 
contested, wide-spread maritime war between nearly 
equal forces that modern history records. There 
remains in my own mind no doubt, after reading the 
naval history on both sides, that the English brought 
to this struggle much superior seamanship, learned 
by the constant practice of shipboard; while the 
French officers, most of whom had been debarred 
from similar experience by the decadence of their 
navy in the middle of the century, had devoted 
themselves to the careful study of their profession. 
In short, what are commonly called the practical 
and the theoretical man were pitted against each 
other, and the result showed how mischievous is 
any plan which neglects either theory or practice, 
or which ignores the fact that correct theoretical 
ideas are essential to successful practical work. 
The practical seamanship and experience of the 
English were continually foiled by the want of cor- 
rect tactical conceptions on the part of their own 
chiefs, and the superior science of the French, ac- 
quired mainly by study. It is true that the latter 
were guided by a false policy on the part of their 
government and a false professional tradition. The 
navy, by its mobility, is pre-eminently fitted for offen- 
sive war, and the French deliberately and constantly 
subordinated it to defensive action. But, though 
the system was faulty, they had a system; they had 
ideas; they had plans familiar to their officers, while 
the English usually had none and a poor system 
is better than none at all. 

10 Part I: Naval Principles 

What is Practical? 

It was said to me by some one: M Ft you want 
to attract officers to the College, give them some- 
thing that will help them pass their next examina- 
tion." But the test of war, when it comes, will 
be found a more searching trial of what is in a 
man than the verdict of several amiable gentle- 
men, disposed to give the benefit of every doubt. 
Then you will encounter men straining every 
faculty and every means to injure you. Shall we 
then, who prepare so anxiously for an examina- 
tion, view as a " practical " proceeding, worthy of 
" practical " men, the postponing to the very mo- 
ment of imperative action the consideration of how 
to act, how to do our fighting, either in the broader 
domain of strategy, or in the more limited field of 
tactics, whether of the single ship or of the fleet? 
Navies exist for war; and the question presses for 
an answer: " Is this neglect to master the experience 
of the past, to elicit, formulate, and absorb its prin- 
ciples, is it practical? " Is it " practical " to wait 
till the squall strikes you before shortening sail? 
If the object and aim of the College is to promote 
such study, to facilitate such results, to foster ami 
disseminate such ideas, can it be reproached that its 
purpose is not " practical," even though at first its 
methods be tentative and its results imperfect? 

The word " practical " has suffered and been de- 
based by a misapprehension of that other word 
" theoretical," to which it is accurately and logically 

" Theoretical " v. " Practical " Training 11 

opposed. Theory is properly defined as a scheme 
of things which terminates in speculation, or con- 
templation, without a view to practice. The idea 
was amusingly expressed in the toast, said to have 
been drunk at a meeting of mathematicians, " Eter- 
nal perdition to the man who would degrade pure 
mathematics by applying it to any useful purpose." 
The word " theoretical," therefore, is applied 
rightly and legitimately only to mental processes 
that end in themselves, that have no result in action; 
but by a natural, yet most unfortunate, confusion of 
thought, it has come to be applied to all mental 
processes whatsoever, whether fruitful or not, and 
has transferred its stigma to them, while " prac- 
tical " has walked off with all the honors of a 
utilitarian age. 

If therefore the line of thought, study and reflec- 
tion, which the War College seeks to promote, is 
really liable to the reproach that it leads to no use- 
ful end, can result in no effective action, it falls 
justly under the condemnation of being not " prac- 
tical." But it must be said frankly and fearlessly 
that the man who is prepared to apply this stigma 
to the line of the College effort must also be pre- 
pared to class as not " practical " men like Napo- 
leon, like his distinguished opponent, the Austrian 
Archduke Charles, and like Jomini, the profuse 
writer on military art and military history, whose 
works, if somewhat supplanted by newer digests, 
have lost little or none of their prestige as a pro- 
found study and exposition of the principles of 

12 Part I: Naval Principles 

Jomini was not merely a military theorist, who 
saw war from the outside; he was a distinguished 
and thoughtful soldier, in the prime of life during 
the Napoleonic wars, and of a contemporary repu- 
tation such that, when he deserted the cause of the 
emperor, he was taken at once into a high position 
as a confidential adviser of the allied sovereigns. 
Yet what does he say of strategy? Strategy is to 
him the queen of military sciences; it underlies the 
fortunes of every campaign. As in a building, 
which, however fair and beautiful the superstruc- 
ture, is radically marred and imperfect if the foun- 
dation be insecure so, if the strategy be wrong, 
the skill of the general on the battlefield, the valor 
of the soldier, the brilliancy of victory, however 
otherwise decisive, fail of their effect. Vet how 
does he define strategy, the effects of which, if thus 
far-reaching, must surely be esteemed " practical " ? 
" Strategy," he said, " is the art of making war upon 
the map. It precedes the operations of the cam- 
paign, the clash of arms on the field. It is done in 
the cabinet, it is the work of the student, with his 
dividers in his hand and his information lying bcsidi- 
him." In other words, it originates in a mental 
process, but it does not end there; therefore it is 

Most of us have heard an anecdote of the great 
Napoleon, which is nevertheless so apt to m\ pur- 
pose that I must risk the repetition. Having hail 
no time to verify my reference, I must quote from 
memory, but of substantial accuracy I am sure. A 
few weeks before one of his early and most decisive 

" Theoretical " v. " Practical " Training 13 

campaigns, his secretary, Bourrienne, entered the 
office and found the First Consul, as he then was, 
stretched on the floor with a large map before him. 
Pricked over the map, in what to Bourrienne was 
confusion, were a number of red and black pins. 
After a short silence the secretary, who was an old 
friend of school days, asked him what it all meant. 
The Consul laughed goodnaturedly, called him a 
fool, and said: "This set of pins represents the 
Austrians and this the French. On such a day I 
shall leave Paris. My troops will then be in such 
positions. On a certain day," naming it, " I shall 
be here," pointing, " and my troops will have moved 
there. At such a time I shall cross the mountains, 
a few days later my army will be here, the Aus- 
trians will have done thus and so; and at a certain 
date I will beat them here," placing a pin. Bour- 
rienne said nothing, perhaps he may have thought 
the matter not " practical; " but a few weeks later, 
after the battle (Marengo, I think) had been 
fought, he was seated with the general in his mili- 
tary traveling carriage. The programme had 
been carried out, and he recalled the incident to 
Bonaparte's mind. The latter himself smiled at 
the singular accuracy of his predictions in the par- 
ticular instance. 

In the light of such an incident, the question I 
would like to pose will receive of course but one 
answer. Was the work on which the general was 
engaged in his private office, this work of a student, 
was it "practical"? Or can it by any reasonable 
method be so divorced from what followed, that 

14 Part I: Naval Principles 

the word " practical " only applies farther on. Did 
he only begin to be practical when he got into his 
carriage to drive from the Tuileries, or did the 
practical begin when he joined the army, or when 
the first gun of the campaign was fired? Or, on 
the other hand, if he had passed that time, given to 
studying the campaign, in arranging for a new 
development of the material of war, and so had 
gone with his plans undeveloped, would he not 
have done a thing very far from " practical " ? 

But we must push our inquiry a little farther 
back to get the full significance of Bourrienne's 
story. Whence came the facility and precision 
with which Bonaparte planned the great campaign 
of Marengo? Partly, unquestionably, from a na- 
tive genius rarely paralleled; partly, but not by any 
means wholly. Hear his own prescription: "If 
any man will be a great general, let him study." 
Study what? " Study history. Study the campaigns 
of the great generals Alexander, Hannibal, 
Caesar " (who never smelt gunpowder, nor dreamed 
of ironclads) " as well as those of Turenne, Frede- 
rick, and myself, Napoleon." Had Bonaparte 
entered his cabinet to plan the campaign of Mar- 
engo, with no other preparation than his genius, 
without the mental equipment and the ripened ex- 
perience that came from knowledge of the past, 
acquired by study, he would have come unprepared. 
Were, then, his previous study and reflection, for 
which the time of action had not come, were they 
not " practical," because they did not result in im- 
mediate action? Would they even have been " not 

" Theoretical " v. " Practical " Training 15 

practical " if the time for action had never come to 

As the wise man said, " There is a time for every- 
thing under the sun," and the time for one thing 
cannot be used as the time for another. That there 
is time for action, all concede; few consider duly 
that there is also a time for preparation. To use 
the time of preparation for preparation is practical, 
whatever the method; to postpone preparation to 
the time for action is not practical. Our new navy 
is preparing now; it can scarcely be said, as regards 
its material, to be yet ready. The day of grace is 
still with us or with those who shall be the future 
captains and admirals. There is time yet for study; 
there is time to imbibe the experience of the past, 
to become imbued, steeped, in the eternal principles 
of war, by the study of its history and of the maxims 
of its masters. But the time of preparation will 
pass; some day the time of action will come. Can 
an admiral then sit down and re-enforce his intel- 
lectual grasp of the problem before him by a study 
of history, which is simply a study of past experi- 
ence? Not so; the time of action is upon him, and 
he must trust to his horse sense. 


r I A HE first and most obvious light in which the sea 
* presents itself from the political and social point 
of view is that of a great highway; or better, per- 
haps, of a wide common, over which men may pass 
in all directions, but on which some well-worn paths 
show that controlling reasons have led them to 
choose certain lines of travel rather than others. 
These lines of travel are called trade routes; and 
the reasons which have determined them are to be 
sought in the history of the world. 

Notwithstanding all the familiar and unfamiliar 
dangers of the sea, both travel and traffic by water 
have always been easier and cheaper than by land. 
The commercial greatness of Holland was due not 
only to her shipping at sea, but also to the numerous 
tranquil water-ways which gave such cheap and easy 
access to her own interior and to that of Germany. 
This advantage of carriage by water over that by 
land was yet more marked in a period when roads 
were few and very bad, wars frequent and society 
unsettled, as was the case two hundred years ago. 
Sea traffic then went in peril of robbers, but was 

1 "The Influence of Sea Power upon History/'pp. 25-59- Mr. S. G. 
W. Benjamin has pointed out (N. Y. Timts Book Review, Feb. 2, iox>2) 
that it was in the preface and opening chapter of this l>< 
only eighty-nine pages, that Captain Mahan brought forward his famous 
presentation of the theory about the influence of sea power on < m, 
The present selection includes the major part of the first chapter. 


Elements of Sea Power 17 

nevertheless safer and quicker than that by land. 
A Dutch writer of that time, estimating the chances 
of his country in a war with England, notices among 
other things that the water-ways of England failed 
to penetrate the country sufficiently; therefore, the 
roads being bad, goods from one part of the king- 
dom to the other must go by sea, and be exposed 
to capture by the way. As regards purely internal 
trade, this danger has generally disappeared at the 
present day. In most civilized countries, now, the 
destruction or disappearance of the coasting trade 
would only be an inconvenience, although water 
transit is still the cheaper. Nevertheless, as late as 
the wars of the French Republic and the First 
Empire, those who are familiar with the history 
of the period, and the light naval literature that 
has grown up around it, know how constant is the 
mention of convoys stealing from point to point 
along the French coast, although the sea swarmed 
with English cruisers and there were good inland 

Under modern conditions, however, home trade 
is but a part of the business of a country bordering 
on the sea. Foreign necessaries or luxuries must be 
brought to its ports, either in its own or in foreign 
ships, which will return, bearing in exchange the 
products of the country, whether they be the fruits 
of the earth or the works of men's hands; and it is 
the wish of every nation that this shipping business 
should be done by its own vessels. The ships that 
thus sail to and fro must have secure ports to which 
to return, and must, as far as possible, be followed 

18 Part I: Nn-i-u! 

by the protection of their country throughout the 

This protection in time of war must be extended 
by armed shipping. The necessity of a navy, in the 
restricted sense of the word, springs, therefore, 
from the existence of a peaceful shipping, and dis- 
appears with it, 1 except in the case of a nation 
which has aggressive tendencies, and keeps up a 
navy merely as a branch of the military establish- 
ment. As the United States has at present no agres- 
sive purposes, and as its merchant service has 
disappeared, the dwindling of the armed fleet and 
general lack of interest in it are strictly logical 
consequences. When for any reason sea trade is 
again found to pay, a large enough shipping interest 
will reappear to compel the revival of the war fleet. 
It is possible that when a canal route through the 
Central-American Isthmus is seen to be a near 
certainty, the aggressive impulse may be strong 
enough to lead to the same result. This is doubtful, 
however, because a peaceful, gain-loving nation is 
not far-sighted, and far-sightedness is needed for 
adequate military preparation, especially in these 

As a nation, with its unarmed and armed ship- 
ping, launches forth from its own shores, the need 
is soon felt of points upon which the ships can rely 
for peaceful trading, for refuge and supplies. In 
the present day friendly, though foreign, ports are 
to be found all over the world; and their shelter is 

itlmr's later opinion on the need of a navy, see pp. 355- 
3 57. EDITOR. 

Elements of Sea Power 19 

enough while peace prevails. It was not always so, 
nor does peace always endure, though the United 
States have been favored by so long a continuance 
of it. In earlier times the merchant seaman, seek- 
ing for trade in new and unexplored regions, made 
his gains at risk of life and liberty from suspicious 
or hostile nations, and was under great delays in 
collecting a full and profitable freight. He there- 
fore intuitively sought at the far end of his trade 
route one or more stations, to be given to him by 
force or favor, where he could fix himself or his 
agents in reasonable security, where his ships could 
lie in safety, and where the merchantable products 
of the land could be continually collecting, awaiting 
the arrival of the home fleet, which should carry 
them to the mother-country. As there was immense 
gain, as well as much risk, in these early voyages, 
such establishments naturally multiplied and grew 
until they became colonies; whose ultimate develop- 
ment and success depended upon the genius and 
policy of the nation from which they sprang, and 
form a very great part of the history, and particu- 
larly of the sea history, of the world. All colonies 
had not the simple and natural birth and growth 
above described. Many were more formal, and 
purely political, in their conception and founding, 
the act of the rulers of the people rather than of 
private individuals; but the trading-station with its 
after expansion, the work simply of the adventurer 
seeking gain, was in its reasons and essence the same 
as the elaborately organized and chartered colony. 
In both cases the mother-country had won a foot- 

J'i l\m I: Naval /';/;/< // 

hold in a foreign land, seeking a new outlet for 
what it had to sell, a new sphere for its shipping, 
more employment for its people, more comfort and 
wealth for itself. 

The needs of commerce, however, were not all 
provided for when safety had been secured at the 
far end of the road. The voyages were long aiul 
dangerous, the seas often beset with enemies. In 
the most active days of colonizing there prevailed 
on the sea a lawlessness the very memory of which 
is now almost lost, and the days of settled peace 
between maritime nations were few and far between. 
Thus arose the demand for stations along the road, 
like the Cape of Good Hope, St. Helena, and 
Mauritius, not primarily for trade, but for dcfc 
and war; the demand for the possession of posts 
like Gibraltar, Malta, Louisburg, at the entrance of 
the Gulf of St. Lawrence, posts whose value was 
chiefly strategic, though not necessarily wholly so. 
Colonies and colonial posts were sometimes com- 
mercial, sometimes military in their character; and 
it was exceptional that the same position was equally 
important in both points of view, as New York was. 

In these three things production, with the 
necessity of exchanging products, shipping, whcr 
the exchange is carried on, and colonies, which 
facilitate and enlarge the operations of shipping 
and tend to protect it by multiplying points of 
safety is to be found the key to much of the 
history, as well as of the policy, of nations border- 
ing upon the sea. The policy has varied both with 
the spirit of the age and with the character and 

Elements of Sea Power 21 

clear-sightedness of the rulers; but the history of 
the seaboard nations has been less determined by 
the shrewdness and foresight of governments than 
by conditions of position, extent, configuration, 
number and character of their people, by what 
are called, in a word, natural conditions. It must 
however be admitted, and will be seen, that the wise 
or unwise action of individual men has at certain 
periods had a great modifying influence upon the 
growth of sea power in the broad sense, which in- 
cludes not only the military strength afloat, that 
rules the sea or any part of it by force of arms, but 
also the peaceful commerce and shipping from 
which alone a military fleet naturally and health- 
fully springs, and on which it securely rests. 

The principal conditions affecting the sea power 
of nations may be enumerated as follows: I. Geo- 
graphical Position. II. Physical Conformation, in- 
cluding, as connected therewith, natural productions 
and climate. III. Extent of Territory. IV. Num- 
ber of Population. V. Character of the People. 
VI. Character of the Government, including therein 
the national institutions. 

I. Geographical Position. It may be pointed 
out, in the first place, that if a nation be so situated 
that it is neither forced to defend itself by land nor 
induced to seek extension of its territory by way of 
the land, it has, by the very unity of its aim directed 
upon the sea, an advantage as compared with a 
people one of whose boundaries is continental. This 
has been a great advantage to England over both 

Part I: Naval Principles 

France and Holland as a sea power. The strength 
of the latter was early exhausted by the necessity 
of keeping up a large army and carying on expensive 
wars to preserve her independence; while the policy 
of France was constantly diverted, sometimes wisely 
and sometimes most foolishly, from the sea to proj- 
ects of continental extension. These military efforts 
expended wealth; whereas a wiser and consistent 
use of .her geographical position would have added 
to it. 

The geographical position may be such as of it- 
self to promote a concentration, or to necessitate 
a dispersion, of the naval forces. Here again the 
British Islands have an advantage over France. 
The position of the latter, touching the Mediter- 
ranean as well as the ocean, while it has its advan- 
tages, is on the whole a source of military weakness 
at sea. The eastern and western French fleets have 
only been able to unite after passing through the 
Straits of Gibraltar, in attempting which they have 
often risked and sometimes suffered loss. The posi- 
tion of the United States upon the two oceans would 
be either a source of great weakness or a cause of 
enormous expense, had it a large sea commerce on 
both coasts. 1 

England, by her immense colonial empire, has 
sacrificed much of this advantage of concentration 
of force around her own shores; but the sacrifice 
was wisely made, for the gain was greater than the 
loss, as the event proved. With the growth of her 
colonial system her war fleets also grew, but her 
1 Written before 1890. EDITOR. 

Elements of Sea Power 23 

merchant shipping and wealth grew yet faster. Still, 
in the wars of the American Revolution, and of the 
French Republic and Empire, to use the strong 
expression of a French author, " England, despite 
the immense development of her navy, seemed ever, 
in the mid$t of riches, to feel all the embarrassment 
of poverty." The might of England was sufficient 
to keep alive the heart and the members; whereas 
the equally extensive colonial empire of Spain, 
through her maritime weakness, but offered so many 
points for insult and injury. 

The geographical position of a country may not 
only favor the concentration of its forces, but give 
the further strategic advantage of a central position 
and a good base for hostile operations against its 
probable enemies. This again is the case with Eng- 
land; on the one hand she faces Holland and the 
northern powers, on the other France and the 
Atlantic. When threatened with a coalition between 
France and the naval powers of the North Sea and 
the Baltic, as she at times was, her fleets in the 
Downs and in the Channel, and even that off Brest, 
occupied interior positions, and thus were readily 
able to interpose their united force against either 
one of the enemies which should seek to pass 
through the Channel to effect a junction with its 
ally. On either side, also, Nature gave her better 
ports and a safer coast to approach. Formerly this 
was a very serious element in the passage through 
the Channel; but of late, steam and the improve- 
ment of her harbors have lessened the disadvantage 
under which France once labored. In the days of 

Part I: Naval /V/wc //>/ 

sailing-ships, the English fleet operated against 
Brest, making its base at Torbay and Plymouth. 
The plan was simply this: in easterly or moderate 
weather the blockading fleet kept its position without 
difficulty; but in westerly gales, when too severe, 
they bore up for English ports, knowing that the 
French fleet could not get out till the wind shifted, 
which equally served to bring them back to their 

The advantage of geographical nearness to an 
enemy, or to the object of attack, is nowhere more 
apparent than In that form of warfare which has 
lately received the name of commerce-destroying, 
which the French call guerre de course. This opera- 
tion of war, being directed against peaceful mer- 
chant vessels which are usually defenseless, calls 
for ships of small military force. Such ships, having 
little power to defend themselves, need a refuge or 
point of support near at hand; which will be found 
either in certain parts of the sea controlled by the 
fighting ships of their country, or in friendly harbors. 
The latter give the strongest support, because they 
are always in the same place, and the approaches to 
them are more familiar to the commerce-destroyer 
than to his enemy. The nearness of France to Eng- 
land has thus greatly facilitated her guerre de 
course directed against the latter. Having ports on 
the North Sea, on the Channel, and on the Atlantic, 
her cruisers started from points near the focus of 
English trade, both coming and going. The dis- 
tance of these ports from each other, disadvan- 
tageous for regular military combinations, is an 

Elements of Sea Power 25 

advantage for this irregular secondary operation; 
for the essence of the one is concentration of effort, 
whereas for commerce-destroying diffusion of effort 
is the rule. Commerce-destroyers scatter, that they 
may see and seize more prey. These truths receive 
illustration from the history of the great French 
privateers, whose bases and scenes of action were 
largely on the Channel and North Sea, or else were 
found in distant colonial regions, where islands like 
Guadaloupe and Martinique afforded similar near 
refuge. The necessity of renewing coal makes the 
cruiser of the present day even more dependent than 
of old on his port. Public opinion in the United 
States has great faith in war directed against an 
enemy's commerce ; but it must be remembered that 
the Republic has no ports very near the great centers 
of trade abroad. Her geographical position is 
therefore singularly disadvantageous for carrying 
on successful commerce-destroying, unless she find 
bases in the ports of an ally. 

If, in addition to facility for offense, Nature 
has so placed a country that it has easy access to the 
high sea itself, while at the same time it controls one 
of the great thoroughfares of the world's traffic, it 
is evident that the strategic value of its position is 
very high. Such again is, and to a greater degree 
was, the position of England. The trade of Hol- 
land, Sweden, Russia, Denmark, and that which 
went up the great rivers to the interior of Germany, 
had to pass through the Channel close by her doors; 
for sailing-ships hugged the English coast. This 
northern trade had, moreover, a peculiar bearing 

26 Part 1: Naval Principles 

upon sea power; for naval stores, as they are com- 
monly called, were mainly drawn from the Baltic 

But for the loss of Gibraltar, the position of 
Spain would have been closely analogous to that of 
England. Looking at once upon the Atlantic and 
the Mediterranean, with Cadiz on the one side and 
Cartagena on the other, the trade to the Levant 
must have passed under her hands, and that round 
the Cape of Good Hope not far from her doors. 
But Gibraltar not only deprived her of the control 
of the Straits, it also imposed an obstacle to the 
easy junction of the two divisions of her fleet. 

At the present day, looking only at the geographi- 
cal position of Italy, and not at the other conditions 
affecting her sea power, it would seem that with her 
extensive sea-coast and good ports she is very well 
placed for exerting a decisive influence on the trade 
route to the Levant and by the Isthmus of Suez. 
This is true in a degree, and would be much more 
so did Italy now hold all the islands naturally 
Italian; but with Malta in the hands of England, 
and Corsica in those of France, the advantages of 
her geographical position are largely neutrali/ol. 
I mm race affinities and situation those two islands 
are as legitimately objects of desire to Italy as 
Gibraltar is to Spain. If the Adriatic were a great 
highway of commerce, Italy's position would be 
still more influential. These defects in her geo- 
graphical completeness, combined with other causes 
injurious to a full and secure development of sea 
power, make it more than doubtful whether Italy 

Elements of Sea Power 27 

can for some time be in the front rank among the 
sea nations. 

As the aim here is not an exhaustive discussion, 
but merely an attempt to show, by illustration, how 
vitally the situation of a country may affect its career 
upon the sea, this division of the subject may be 
dismissed for the present; the more so as instances 
which will further bring out its importance will 
continually recur in the historical treatment. Two 
remarks, however, are here appropriate. 

Circumstances have caused the Mediterranean 
Sea to play a greater part in the history of the 
world, both in a commercial and a military point of 
view, than any other sheet of water of the same 
size. Nation after nation has striven to control it, 
and the strife still goes on. Therefore a study of 
the conditions upon which preponderance in its 
waters has rested, and now rests, and of the relative 
military values of different points upon its coasts, 
will be more instructive than the same amount of 
effort expended in another field. Furthermore, it 
has at the present time a very marked analogy in 
many respects to the Caribbean Sea, an analogy 
which will be still closer if a Panama canal-route 
ever be completed. A study of the strategic con- 
ditions of the Mediterranean, which have received 
ample illustration, will be an excellent prelude to 
a similar study of the Caribbean, which has com- 
paratively little history. 

The second remark bears upon the geographical 
position of the United States relatively to a Central- 
American canal. If one be made, and fulfil the 

Part 1: Naval Principles 

hopes of its builders, the Caribbean will be changed 
from a terminus, and place of local traffic, or at 
best a broken and imperfect line of travel, as it now 
is, into one of the great highways of the world. 
Along this path a great commerce will travel, bring- 
ing the interests of the other great nations, tin- 
European nations, close along our shores, as they 
have never been before. With this it will not be so 
easy as heretofore to stand aloof from international 
complications. The position of the United States 
with reference to this route will resemble that of 
England to the Channel, and of the Mediterranean 
countries to the Suez route. As regards influence 
and control over it, depending upon geographical 
position, it is of course plain that the center of the 
national power, the permanent base, 1 is much nearer 
than that of other great nations. The positions now 
or hereafter occupied by them on island or main- 
land, however strong, will be but outposts of their 
power; while in all the raw materials of military 
strength no nation is superior to the United Sta 
She is, however, weak in a confessed unpreparedness 
for war; and her geographical nearness to the point 
of contention loses some of its value by the character 
of the Gulf coast, which is deficient in ports com- 
bining security from an enemy with facility for re- 
pairing warships of the first class, without which 
ships no country can pretend to control any part of 
the sea. In case of a contest for supremacy in the 

1 By a base of permanent operations "is understood a country 
whcnrr mm* .dl the resources, where are united the great lines of com- 
munication by land and water, where arc the arsenals and .irml posts." 

Elements of Sea Power 29 

Caribbean, it seems evident from the depth of the 
South Pass of the Mississippi, the nearness of New 
Orleans, and the advantages of the Mississippi 
Valley for water transit, that the main effort of the 
country must pour down that valley, and its per- 
manent base of operations be found there. The 
defense of the entrance to the Mississippi, however, 
presents peculiar difficulties ; while the only two rival 
ports, Key West and Pensacola, have too little 
depth of water, and are much less advantageously 
placed with reference to the resources of the 
country. To get the full benefit of superior geo- 
graphical position, these defects must be overcome. 
Furthermore, as her distance from the Isthmus, 
though relatively less, is still considerable, the 
United States will have to obtain in the Caribbean 
stations fit for contingent, or secondary, bases of 
operations; which by their natural advantages, sus- 
ceptibility of defense, and nearness to the central 
strategic issue, will enable her fleets to remain as 
near the scene as any opponent. With ingress and 
egress from the Mississippi sufficiently protected, 
with such outposts in her hands, and with the com- 
munications between them and the home base 
secured, in short, with proper military preparation, 
for which she has all necessary means, the pre- 
ponderance of the United States on this field follows, 
from her geographical position and her power, with 
mathematical certainty. 

II. Physical Conformation. The peculiar fea- 
tures of the Gulf coast, alluded to, come properly 

30 Part I: Naval Principles 

under the head of Physical Conformation of a coun- 
try, which is placed second for discussion among the 
conditions which affect the development of sea power. 

The seaboard of a country is one of its frontiers; 
and the easier the access offered by the frontier to 
the region beyond, in this case the sea, the greater 
will be the tendency of a people toward intercourse 
with the rest of the world by it. If a country be 
imagined having a long seaboard, but entirely with- 
out a harbor, such a country can have no sea trade of 
its own, no shipping, no navy. This was practically 
the case with Belgium when it was a Spanish and an 
Austrian province. The Dutch, in 1648, as a con- 
dition of peace after a successful war, exacted that 
the Scheldt should be closed to sea commerce. This 
closed the harbor of Antwerp and transferred the 
sea trade of Belgium to Holland. The Spanish 
Netherlands ceased to be a sea power. 

Numerous and deep harbors are a source of 
strength and wealth, and doubly so if they are the 
outlets of navigable streams, which facilitate the 
concentration Ln them of a country's internal trade; 
but by their very accessibility they become a source 
of weakness in war, if not properly defended. The 
Dutch in 1667 found little difficulty in ascending the 
Thames and burning a large fraction of the English 
navy within sight of London; whereas a few years 
later the combined fleets of England and France, 
when attempting a landing in Holland, were foiled 
by the difficulties of the coast as much as by the 
valor of the Dutch fleet. In 1778 the harbor of 
New York, and with it undisputed control of the 

Elements of Sea Power 31 

Hudson River, would have been lost to the English, 
who were caught at disadvantage, but for the 
hesitancy of the French admiral. With that con- 
trol, New England would have been restored to 
close and safe communication with New York, New 
Jersey, and Pennsylvania; and this blow, following 
so closely on Burgoyne's disaster of the year before, 
would probably have led the English to make an 
earlier peace. The Mississippi is a mighty source 
of wealth and strength to the United States; but 
the feeble defenses of its mouth and the number of 
its subsidiary streams penetrating the country made 
it a weakness and source of disaster to the Southern 
Confederacy. And lastly, in 1814, the occupation 
of the Chesapeake and the destruction of Washing- 
ton gave a sharp lesson of the dangers incurred 
through the noblest waterways, if their approaches 
be undefended; a lesson recent enough to be easily 
recalled, but which, from the present appearance of 
the coast defenses, seems to be yet more easily 
forgotten. Nor should it be thought that conditions 
have changed; circumstances and details of offense 
and defense have been modified, in these days as 
before, but the great conditions remain the same. 

Before and during the great Napoleonic wars, 
France had no port for ships-of-the-line east of 
Brest. How great the advantage to England, which 
in the same stretch has two great arsenals, at Plym- 
outh and at Portsmouth, besides other harbors of 
refuge and supply. This defect of conformation has 
since been remedied by the works at Cherbourg. 

Besides the contour of the coast, involving easy 

Part I: Naval Principles 

access to the sea, there are other physical conditions 
which lead people to the sea or turn them from it. 
Although France was deficient in military ports on 
the Channel, she had both there and on the oo 
as well as in the Mediterranean, excellent harbors, 
favorably situated for trade abroad, and at the out- 
let of large rivers, which would foster internal 
traffic. But when Richelieu had put an end to civil 
war, Frenchmen did not take to the sea with the 
eagerness and success of the English and Dutch. A 
principal reason for this has been plausibly found in 
the physical conditions which have made France a 
pleasant land, with a delightful climate, producing 
within itself more than its people needed. England, 
on the other hand, received from Nature but little, 
and, until her manufactures were developed, had 
little to export. Their many wants, combined with 
their restless activity and other conditions that 
favored maritime enterprise, led her people abroad; 
and they there found lands more pleasant and richer 
than their own. Their needs and genius made them 
merchants and colonists, then manufacturers and 
producers; and between products and colonies ship- 
ping is the inevitable link. So their sea power grew. 
But if England was drawn to the sea, Holland was 
driven to it; without the sea England languished, but 
Holland died. In the height of her greatness, when 
she was one of the chief factors in European politics, 
a competent native authority estimated that the soil 
of Holland could not support more than one eighth 
of her inhabitants. The manufactures of the coun- 
try were then numerous and important, but they had 

Elements of Sea Power 33 

been much later in their growth than the shipping 
interest. The poverty of the soil and the exposed 
nature of the coast drove the Dutch first to fishing. 
Then the discovery of the process of curing the fish 
gave them material for export as well as home con- 
sumption, and so laid the corner-stone of their 
wealth. Thus they had become traders at the time 
that the Italian republics, under the pressure of 
Turkish power and the discovery of the passage 
round the Cape of Good Hope, were beginning 
to decline, and they fell heirs to the great Italian 
trade of the Levant. Further favored by their geo- 
graphical position, intermediate between the Baltic, 
France, and the Mediterranean, and at the mouth 
of the German rivers, they quickly absorbed nearly 
all the carrying4rade of Europe. The wheat and 
naval stores of the Baltic, the trade of Spain with 
her colonies in the New World, the wines of France, 
and the French coasting-trade were, little more than 
two hundred years ago, transported in Dutch ship- 
ping. Much of the carrying-trade of England, even, 
was then done in Dutch bottoms. It will not be pre- 
tended that all this prosperity proceeded only from 
the poverty of Holland's natural resources. Some- 
thing does not grow from nothing. What is true, is, 
that by the necessitous condition of her people they 
were driven to the sea, and were, from their mastery 
of the shipping business and the size of their fleets, 
in a position to profit by the sudden expansion of 
commerce and the spirit of exploration which fol- 
lowed on the discovery of America and of the 
passage round the Cape. Other causes concurred, 

34 Pan I: Naval Principles 

but their whole prosperity stood on the sea power 
to which their poverty gave birth. Their food, their 
clothing, the raw material for their manufactu 
the very timber and hemp with which they built and 
rigged their ships (and they built nearly as many as 
all Europe besides), were imported; and when a 
disastrous war with England in 1653 and 1654 h;ul 
lasted eighteen months, and their shipping business 
was stopped, it is said " the sources of revenue 
which had always maintained the riches of the State, 
such as fisheries and commerce, were almost dry. 
Workshops were closed, work was suspended. The 
Zuyder Zee became a forest of masts; the country 
was full of beggars; grass grew in the streets, and 
in Amsterdam fifteen hundred houses were un- 
tenanted." A humiliating peace alone saved them 
from ruin. 

This sorrowful result shows the weakness of a 
country depending wholly upon sources external to 
itself for the part it is playing in the world. With 
large deductions, owing to differences of conditions 
which need not here be spoken of, the case of Hol- 
land then has strong points of resemblance to that 
of Great Britain now; and they are true prophets, 
though they seem to be having small honor in their 
own country, who warn her that the continuance of 
her prosperity at home depends primarily upon 
maintaining her power abroad. Men may be dis- 
contented at the lack of political privilege; they will 
be yet more uneasy if they come to lack bread. It 
is of more interest to Americans to note that the 
result to France, regarded as a power of the sea, 

Elements of Sea Power 35 

caused by the extent, delightfulness, and richness of 
the land, has been reproduced in the United States. 
In the beginning, their forefathers held a narrow 
strip of land upon the sea, fertile in parts though 
little developed, abounding in harbors and near rich 
fishing grounds. These physical conditions com- 
bined with an inborn love of the sea, the pulse of 
that English blood which still beat in their veins, to 
keep alive all those tendencies and pursuits upon 
which a healthy sea power depends. Almost every 
one of the original colonies was on the sea or on one 
of its great tributaries. All export and import 
tended toward one coast. Interest in the sea and an 
intelligent appreciation of the part it played in the 
public welfare were easily and widely spread; and a 
motive more influential than care for the public in- 
terest was also active, for the abundance of ship- 
building materials and a relative fewness of other 
investments made shipping a profitable private in- 
terest. How changed the present condition is, all 
know. The center of power is no longer on the 
seaboard. Books and newspapers vie with one an- 
other in describing the wonderful growth, and the 
still undeveloped riches, of the interior. Capital 
there finds its best investments, labor its largest 
opportunities. The frontiers are neglected and 
politically weak; the Gulf and Pacific coasts actually 
so, the Atlantic coast relatively to the central Missis- 
sippi Valley. When the day comes that shipping 
again pays, when the three sea frontiers find that 
they are not only militarily weak, but poorer for 
lack of national shipping, their united efforts may 

36 Part I: Naval Principles 

avail to lay again the foundations of our sea power. 
Till then, those who follow the limitations which 
lack of sea power placed upon the career of France 
may mourn that their own country is being led, by 
a like redundancy of home wealth, into the same 
neglect of that great instrument. 

Among modifying physical conditions may be 
noted a form like that of Italy, a long peninsula, 
with a central range of mountains dividing it into 
two narrow strips, along which the roads connecting 
the different ports necessarily run. Only an absolute 
control of the sea can wholly secure such communi- 
cations, since it is impossible to know at what point 
an enemy coming from beyond the visible horizon 
may strike; but still, with an adequate naval force 
centrally posted, there will be good hope of attack- 
ing his fleet, which is at once his base and line of 
communications, before serious damage has been 
done. The long, narrow peninsula of Florida, with 
Key West at its extremity, though flat and thinly 
populated, presents at first sight conditions like those 
of Italy. The resemblance may be only superficial, 
but it seems probable that if the chief scene of a 
naval war were the Gulf of Mexico, the communica- 
tions by land to the end of the peninsula might be a 
matter of consequence, and open to attack. 

When the sea not only borders, or surrounds, but 
also separates a country into two or more parts, the 
control of it becomes not only desirable, but vitally 
necesary. Such a physical condition either gives 
birth and strength to sea power, or makes the 
country powerless. Such is the condition of the 

Elements of Sea Power 37 

present kingdom of Italy, with its islands of Sardinia 
and Sicily; and hence in its youth and still existing 
financial weakness it is seen to put forth such vigor- 
ous and intelligent efforts to create a military navy. 
It has even been argued that, with a navy decidedly 
superior to her enemy's, Italy could better base her 
power upon her islands than upon her mainland; for 
the insecurity of the lines of communication in the 
peninsula, already pointed out, would most seriously 
embarrass an invading army surrounded by a hostile 
people and threatened from the sea. 

The Irish Sea, separating the British Islands, 
rather resembles an estuary than an actual division; 
but history has shown the danger from it to the 
United Kingdom. In the days of Louis XIV, when 
the French navy nearly equalled the combined Eng- 
lish and Dutch, the gravest complications existed in 
Ireland, which passed almost wholly under the con- 
trol of the natives and the French. Nevertheless, 
the Irish Sea was rather a danger to the English 
a weak point in their communications than an 
advantage to the French. The latter did not venture 
their ships-of-the-line in its narrow waters, and ex- 
peditions intending to land were directed upon the 
ocean ports in the south and west. At the supreme 
moment the great French fleet was sent upon the 
south coast of England, where it decisively defeated 
the allies, and at the same time twenty-five frigates 
were sent to St. George's Channel, against the Eng- 
lish communications. In the midst of a hostile peo- 
ple, the English army in Ireland was seriously im- 
periled, but was saved by the battle of the Boyne 

38 Part I: Naval Principles 

and flight of James II. This movement against the 
enemy's communications was strictly strategic, aiul 
would be as dangerous to England now as in 1690. 

Spain, in the same century, afforded an impressive 
lesson of the weakness caused by such separation 
when the parts are not knit together by a strong sea 
power. She then still retained, as remnants of her 
past greatness, the Netherlands (now Belgium), 
Sicily, and other Italian possessions, not to speak of 
her vast colonies in the New World. Yet so low 
had the Spanish sea power fallen, that a well-in- 
formed and sober-minded Hollander of the day 
could claim that " in Spain all the coast is navigated 
by a few Dutch ships; and sirtce the peace of 1648 
their ships and seamen are so few that they have 
publicly begun to hire our ships to sail to the Indies, 
whereas they were formerly careful to exclude all 
foreigners from there. ... It is manifest," he goes 
on, u that the West Indies, being as the stomach to 
Spain (for from it nearly all the revenue is drawn), 
must be joined to the Spanish head by a sea force; 
and that Naples and the Netherlands, being like 
two arms, they cannot lay out their strength for 
Spain, nor receive anything thence but by shipping, 
all which may easily be done by our shipping in 
peace, and by it obstructed in war." Half a century 
before, Sully, the great minister of Henry IV, had 
characterized Spain " as one of those States whose 
legs and arms are strong and powerful, but the 
heart infinitely weak and feeble." Since his day the 
Spanish navy had suffered not only disaster, hut 
annihilation; not only humiliation, but degradation. 

Elements of Sea Power 39 

The consequences briefly were that shipping was 
destroyed; manufactures perished with it. The 
government depended for its support, not upon a 
widespread healthy commerce and industry that 
could survive many a staggering blow, but upon a 
narrow stream of silver trickling through a few 
treasure-ships from America, easily and frequently 
intercepted by an enemy's cruisers. The loss of half 
a dozen galleons more than once paralyzed its move- 
ments for a year. While the war in the Nether- 
lands lasted, the Dutch control of the sea forced 
Spain to send her troops by a long and costly journey 
overland instead of by sea; and the same cause re- 
duced her to such straits for necessaries that, by a 
mutual arrangement which seems very odd to mod- 
ern ideas, her wants were supplied by Dutch ships, 
which thus maintained the enemies of their country, 
but received in return specie which was welcome in 
the Amsterdam exchange. In America, the Spanish 
protected themselves as best they might behind 
masonry, unaided from home; while in the Mediter- 
ranean they escaped insult and injury mainly through 
the indifference of the Dutch, for the French and 
English had not yet begun to contend for mastery 
there. In the course of history the Netherlands, 
Naples, Sicily, Minorca, Havana, Manila, and 
Jamaica were wrenched away, at one time or an- 
other, from this empire without a shipping. In 
short, while Spain's maritime impotence may have 
been primarily a symptom of her general decay, it 
became a marked factor in precipitating her into the 
abyss from which she has not yet wholly emerged. 

40 Pan I: Naval Principles 

Except Alaska, the United States has no outlying 
possession, no foot of ground inaccessible by land. 
Its contour is such as to present few points specially 
weak from their saliency, and all important parts of 
the frontiers can be readily attained, /cheaply by 
water, rapidly by rail. The weakest frontier, the 
Pacific, is far removed from the most dangerous 
of possible enemies. The internal resources are 
boundless as compared with present needs; we can 
live off ourselves indefinitely in " our little corner," 
to use the expression of a French officer to t he- 
author. Yet should that little corner be invaded by 
a new commercial route through the Isthmus, t he- 
United States in her turn may have the rude awaken- 
ing of those who have abandoned their share in the 
common birthright of all people, the sea. 

III. Extent of. Territory. The last of the con- 
ditions affecting the development of a nation as a 
sea power, and touching the country itself as dis- 
tinguished from the people who dwell there, is Ex- 
tent of Territory. This may be dismissed with 
comparatively few words. 

As regards the development of sea power, it is 
not the total number of square miles which a country 
contains, but the length of its coast-line and the 
character of its harbors that are to be considered. 
As to these it is to be said that, the geographical and 
physical conditions being the same, extent of sea- 
coast is a source of strength or weakness according 
as the population is large or small. A country is in 
this like a fortress; the garrison must be propor- 

Elements of Sea Power 41 

tioned to the enceinte. A recent familiar instance is 
found in the American War of Secession. Had the 
South had a people as numerous as it was warlike, 
and a navy commensurate to its other resources as a 
sea power, the great extent of its sea-coast and its 
numerous inlets would have been elements of great 
strength. The people of the United States and the 
Government of that day justly prided themselves on 
the effectiveness of the blockade of the whole South- 
ern coast. It was a great feat, a very great feat; 
but it would have been an impossible feat had the 
Southerners been more numerous, and a nation of 
seamen. What was there shown was not, as has 
been said, how such a blockade can be maintained, 
but that such a blockade is possible in the face of a 
population not only unused to the sea, but also 
scanty in numbers. Those who recall how the block- 
ade was maintained, and the class of ships that 
blockaded during great part of the war, know that 
the plan, correct under the circumstances, could not 
have been carried out in the face of a real navy. 
Scattered unsupported along the coast, the United 
States ships kept their places, singly or in small 
detachments, in face of an extensive network of in- 
land water communications which favored secret 
concentration of the enemy. Behind the first line of 
water communications were long estuaries, and here 
and there strong fortresses, upon either of which 
the enemy's ships could always fall back to elude 
pursuit or to receive protection. Had there been a 
Southern navy to profit by such advantages, or by 
the scattered condition of the United States ships, 

4L' Pan I: A 

the latter could not have been distributed as they 
were; and being forced to concentrate for mutual 
support, many small but useful approaches would 
have been left open to commerce. But as the 
Southern coast, from its extent and many inlets, 
might have been a source of strength, so, from those 
very characteristics, it became a fruitful source of 
injury. The great story of the opening of the 
Mississippi is but the most striking illustration of 
an action that was going on incessantly all over the 
South. At every breach of the sea frontier, war- 
ships were entering. The streams that had carried 
the wealth and supported the trade of the seceding 
States turned against them, and admitted their 
enemies to their hearts. Dismay, insecurity, paral- 
ysis, prevailed in regions that might, under hap- 
pier auspices, have kept a nation alive through the 
most exhausting war. Never did sea power play 
a greater or a more decisive part than in the contest 
which determined that the course of the worKl's 
history would be modified by the existence of one 
great nation, instead of several rival States, in t he- 
North American continent. But while just pride 
is felt in the well-earned glory of those days, and 
the greatness of the results due to naval preponder- 
ance is admitted, Americans who understand the 
facts should never fail to remind the over-confidence 
of their countrymen that the South not only had no 
navy, not only was not a seafaring people, but that 
also its population was not proportioned to the ex- 
tent of the sea-coast which it had to defend. 

Elements of Sea Power 43 

IV. Number of Population. After the con- 
sideration of the natural conditions of a country 
should follow an examination of the characteristics 
of its population as affecting the development of 
sea power; and first among these will be taken, be- 
cause of its relations to the extent of the territory, 
which has just been discussed, the number of the 
people who live in it. It has been said that in respect 
of dimensions it is not merely the number of square 
miles, but the extent and character of the sea-coast 
that is to be considered with reference to sea power; 
and so, in point of population, it is not only the 
grand total, but the number following the sea, or at 
least readily available for employment on ship- 
board and for the creation of naval material, that 
must be counted. 

For example, formerly and up to the end of the 
great wars following the French Revolution, the 
population of France was much greater than that 
of England; but in respect of sea power in general, 
peaceful commerce as well as military efficiency, 
France was much inferior to England. In the mat- 
ter of military efficiency this fact is the more re- 
markable because at times, in point of military 
preparation at the outbreak of war, France had the 
advantage; but she was not able to keep it. Thus 
in 1778, when war broke out, France, through her 
maritime inscription, was able to man at once fifty 
ships-of-the-line. England, on the contrary, by 
reason of the dispersal over the globe of that very 
shipping on which her naval strength so securely 
rested, had much trouble in manning forty at home; 

44 Part I: Naval Principles 

but in 1782 she had one hundred and twenty in com- 
mission or ready for commission, while France h.ul 
never been able to exceed seventy-one. 

[The need is further shown, not only of a large 
seafaring population, but of skilled mechanics and 
artisans to facilitate ship construction and repair 
and supply capable recruits for the navy. EDITOR.] 

. . . That our own country is open to the same 
reproach is patent to all the world. The United 
States has not that shield of defensive power be- 
hind which time can be gained to develop its reserve 
of strength. As for a seafaring population adequate 
to her possible needs, where is it? Such a resource, 
proportionate to her coast-line and population, is to 
be found only in a national merchant shipping and 
its related industries, which at present scarcely exist. 
It will matter little whether the crews of such ships 
are native or foreign born, provided they are at- 
tached to the flag, and her power at sea is sufficient 
to enable the most of them to get back in case of 
war. When foreigners by thousands are admitted 
to the ballot, it is of little moment that they are given 
fighting-room on board ship. 

Though the treatment of the subject has been 
somewhat discursive, it may be admitted that a great 
population following callings related to the sea is, 
now as formerly, a great element of sea power; that 
the United States is deficient in that element; and 
that its foundations can be laid only In a large com- 
merce under her own flag. 

Elements of Sea Power 45 


V. National Character. The effect of national 
character and aptitudes upon the development of 
sea power will next be considered. 

If sea power be really based upon a peaceful 
and extensive commerce, aptitude for commercial 
pursuits must be a distinguishing feature of the 
nations that have at one time or another been great 
upon the sea. History almost without exception 
affirms that this is true. Save the Romans, there 
is no marked instance to the contrary. 

[Here follows a survey, covering several pages, 
of the commercial history and colonial policies of 
Spain, Holland, and Great Britain. EDITOR.] 

. . . The fact of England's unique and wonderful 
success as a great colonizing nation is too evident to 
be dwelt upon; and the reason for it appears to lie 
chiefly in two traits of the national character. The 
English colonist naturally and readily settles down 
in his new country, identifies his interest with it, and 
though keeping an affectionate remembrance of the 
home from which he came, has no restless eagerness 
to return. In the second place, the Englishman at 
once and instinctively seeks to develop the resources 
of the new country in the broadest sense. In the 
former particular he differs from the French, who 
were ever longingly looking back to the delights of 
their pleasant land; in the latter, from the Span- 
iards, whose range of interest and ambition was too 
narrow for the full evolution of the possibilities of 
a new country. 

The character and the necessities of the Dutch led 
them naturally to plant colonies; and by the year 

46 Part I: Naval Principles 

1650 they had in the East Indies, in Africa, and in 
America a large number, only to name which would 
be tedious. They were then far ahead of England 
in this matter. But though the origin of these 
colonies, purely commercial in its character, was 
natural, there seems to have been lacking to them a 
principle of growth. " In planting them they never 
sought an extension of empire, but merely an acquisi- 
tion of trade and commerce. They attempted con- 
quest only when forced by the pressure of circum- 
stances. Generally they were content to trade under 
the protection of the sovereign of the country." 
This placid satisfaction with gain alone, unaccom- 
panied by political ambition, tended, like the despot- 
ism of France and Spain, to keep the colonies mere 
commercial dependencies upon the mother-country, 
and so killed the natural principle of growth. 

Before quitting this head of the inquiry, it is well 
to ask how far the national character of Americans 
is fitted to develop a great sea power, should other 
circumstances become favorable. 

It seems scarcely necessary, however, to do more 
than appeal to a not very distant past to prove that, 
if legislative hindrances be removed, and more re- 
munerative fields of enterprise filled up, the sea 
power will not long delay its appearance. Tlu 
instinct for commerce, bold enterprise in pursuit of 
gain, and a keen scent for trails that lead to it, all 
exist; and if there be in the future any fields calling 
for colonization, it cannot be doubted that Aim-ri- 
cans will carry to them all their inherited aptitude 
for self-government and independent growth. 

Elements of Sea Power 47 

VI. Character of the Government. In discuss- 
ing the effects upon the development of a nation's 
sea power exerted by its government and institutions, 
it will be necessary to avoid a tendency to over- 
philosophizing, to confine attention to obvious and 
immediate causes and their plain results, without 
prying too far beneath the surface for remote and 
ultimate influences. 

Nevertheless, it must be noted that particular 
forms of government with their accompanying in- 
stitutions, and the character of rulers at one time 
or another, have exercised a very marked influence 
upon the development of sea power. The various 
traits of a country and its people which have so far 
been considered constitute the natural characteristics 
with which a nation, like a man, begins its career; 
the conduct of the government in turn corresponds 
to the exercise of the intelligent will-power, which, 
according as it is wise, energetic and persevering, or 
the reverse, causes success or failure in a man's life 
or a nation's history. 

It would seem probable that a government in full 
accord with the natural bias of its people would 
most successfully advance its growth in every re- 
spect; and, in the matter of sea power, the most 
brilliant successes have followed where there has 
been intelligent direction by a government fully im- 
bued with the spirit of the people and conscious of 
its true general bent. Such a government is most 
certainly secured when the will of the people, or of 
their best natural exponents, has some large share 
in making it; but such free governments have some- 

48 Part I: Naval Principles 

times fallen short, while on the other hand despotic 
power, wielded with judgment and consistency, has 
created at times a great sea commerce and a brilliant 
navy with greater directness than can be reached by 
the slower processes of a free people. The difficulty 
in the latter case is to insure perseverance after the 
death of a particular despot. 

England having undoubtedly reached the greatest 
height of sea power of any modern nation, the action 
of her government first claims attention. In general 
direction this action has been consistent, though 
often far from praiseworthy. It has aimed steadily 
at the control of the sea. 

[The remainder of the chapter, quoted in part 
on pp. 141-146, outlines the extension of Great 
Britain's trade and sea power during the seven- 
teenth and eighteenth centuries. EDITOR.] 

Strategy, Tactics, Logistics 

11 GTRATEGY," says Jomini, speaking of the art of 
*** war on land, " is the art of making war upon the 
map, and comprehends the whole theater of warlike 
operations. Grand tactics is the art of posting 
troops upon the battle-field, according to the 
accidents of the ground; of bringing them into 
action; and the art of fighting upon the ground in 
contradistinction to planning upon a map. Its 
operations may extend over a field of ten or twelve 
miles in extent. Strategy decides where to act. 
Grand tactics decides the manner of execution and 
the employment of troops," when, by the combina- 
tions of strategy, they have been assembled at the 
point of action. 

. . . Between Strategy and Grand Tactics comes 
logically Logistics. Strategy decides where to act; 
Logistics is the act of moving armies; it brings 
the troops to the point of action and controls 
questions of supply; Grand Tactics decides the 
methods of giving battle. 

1 "Naval Administration and Warfare," pp. 199, 206. For the 
distinction drawn, see also pp. 4, 12. EDITOR. 

Central Position, Interior Lines, Communications 

'"PHE situation here used in illustration is taken 
from the Thirty Years' War, 1618-1648, in 
which the French House of Bourbon opposed the 
House of Austria, the latter controlling Spain, Aus- 
tria, and parts of Germany. France lay between 
Spain and Austria; but if Spain commanded the sea, 
her forces could reach the field of conflict in central 
Europe either by way of Belgium or by way of 
the Duchy of Milan in northern Italy, both of 
which were under her rule. 

The upper course of the Danube between Ulm 
and Ratisbon is also employed to illustrate central 
position, dominating the great European theater 
of war north of the Alps and east of the Rhine. 

The situation of France relatively to her two 
opponents of this period Spain and Austria 
illustrates three elements of strategy, of frequent 
mention, which it is well here to name and to define, 
as well as to illustrate by the instance before you. 

i . There is central position, illustrated by France ; 
her national power and control interposing by land 
between her enemies. Yet not by land only, pro- 
vided the coast supports an adequate navy; for, if 

1 "Naval Strategy," pp. 31-53. 

Fundamental Principles 51 

that be the case, the French fleet also interposes be- 
tween Spanish and Italian ports. The Danube is 
similarly an instance of central position. 

2. Interior lines. The characteristic of interior 
lines is that of the central position prolonged in one 
or more directions, thus favoring sustained inter- 
position between separate bodies of an enemy; with 
the consequent power to concentrate against either, 
while holding the other in check with a force possibly 
distinctly inferior. An interior line may be con- 
ceived as the extension of a central position, or as 
a series of central positions connected with one an- 
other, as a geometrical line is a continuous series 
of geometrical points. The expression " Interior 
Lines " conveys the meaning that from a central 
position one can assemble more rapidly on either 
of two opposite fronts than the enemy can, and 
therefore can utilize force more effectively. Par- 
ticular examples of maritime interior lines are found 
in the route by Suez as compared with that by the 
Cape of Good Hope, and in Panama contrasted 
with Magellan. The Kiel Canal similarly affords 
an interior line between the Baltic and North Sea, 
as against the natural channels passing round Den- 
mark, or between the Danish Islands, the Sound 
and the two Belts. 1 These instances of '" Interior " 

1 An interesting instance of the method and forethought which cause 
German naval development of all kinds to progress abreast, on parallel 
lines, is found in the fact that by the time the three Dreadnoughts laid 
down in 1911 are completed, and with them two complete Dreadnought 
squadrons of eight each, which probably will be in 1914, the Kiel Canal 
will have been enlarged to permit their passage. There will then be a 
fleet of thirty-eight battleships; including these sixteen, which will be 
stationed, eight in the North Sea, eight in the Baltic, linked for mutual 
support by the central canal. The programme contemplates a contin- 

Part I: Naval Principles 

will recall one of your boyhood's geometrical 
theorems, demonstrating that, from a point interior 
to a triangle, lines drawn to two angles are shorter 
than the corresponding sides of the triangle itself. 
Briefly, interior lines are lines shorter in time than 
those the enemy can use. France, for instance, in 
the case before us, could march twenty thousand men 
to the Rhine, or to the Pyrenees, or could send neces- 
sary supplies to either, sooner than Spain could send 
the same number to the Rhine, or Austria to the 
Pyrenees, granting even that the sea were open to 
their ships. 

3. The position of France relatively to Germany 
and Spain illustrates also the question of communica- 
tions. " Communications " is a general term, desig- 
nating the lines of movement by which a military 
body, army or fleet, is kept in living connection with 
the national power. This being the leading char- 
acteristic of communications, they may be considered 
essentially lines of defensive action; while interior 
lines are rather offensive in character, enabling the 
belligerent favored by them to attack in force one 
part of the hostile line sooner than the enemy can 
reinforce it, because the assailant is nearer than the 
friend. As a concrete instance, the disastrous at- 
tempt already mentioned, of Spain in 1639 to send 
reinforcements by the Channel, followed the route 
from Corunna to the Straits of Dover. It did so 
because at that particular moment the successes of 
:uc had given her control of part of the valley 

uou* prearranged replacing of the present prc-Drcadnoughts by Dread- 

Fundamental Principles 53 

of the Rhine, closing it to the Spaniards from Milan; 
while the more eastern route through Germany was 
barred by the Swedes, who in the Thirty Years' 
War were allies of France. The Channel therefore 
at that moment remained the only road open from 
Spain to the Netherlands, between which it became 
the line of communications. Granting the attempt 
had been successful, the line followed is exterior; 
for, assuming equal rapidity of movement, ten thou- 
sand men starting from central France should reach 
the field sooner. 

The central position of France, therefore, gave 
both defensive and offensive advantage. In con- 
sequence of the position she had interior lines, 
shorter lines, by which to attack, and also her com- 
munications to either front lay behind the front, 
were covered by the army at the front; in other 
words, had good defense, besides being shorter than 
those by which the enemy on one front could send 
help to the other front. Further, by virtue of her 
position, the French ports on the Atlantic and 
Channel flanked the Spanish sea communications. 

At the present moment, Germany and Austria- 
Hungary, as members of the Triple Alliance, have 
the same advantage of central and concentrated posi- 
tion against the Triple Entente, Russia, France, and 
Great Britain. 

Transfer now your attention back to the Danube 
when the scene of war is in that region; as it was in 
1796, and also frequently was during the period of 
which we are now speaking. . . . You have seen 
before, that, if there be war between Austria and 


Part I: Naval Principles 

France, as there so often was, the one who held 
the Danube had a central position in the region. 
Holding means possession by military power, which 
power can be used to the full against the North 

or against the South offensive power far more 
easily than the South and North can combine against 
him; because he is nearer to each than cither is to 
the other. (See map.) Should North wish to send 
a big reinforcement to South, it cannot march across 
the part of the Danube held, but must march around 

Fundamental Principles 55 

it above or below; exactly as, in 1640, reinforce- 
ments from Spain to the Rhine had, so to say, to 
march around France. In such a march, on land, 
the reinforcement making it is necessarily in a long 
column, because roads do not allow a great many 
men to walk abreast. The road followed designates 
in fact the alignment of the reinforcement from day 
to day; and because its advance continually turns the 
side to the enemy, around whom it is moving, the 
enemy's position is said to flank the movement, con- 
stituting a recognized danger. It makes no differ- 
ence whether the line of march is straight or curved; 
it is extension upon it that constitutes the danger, 
because the line itself, being thin, is everywhere 
weak, liable to an attack in force upon a relatively 
small part of its whole. Communications are ex- 
posed, and the enemy has the interior line. . . . 

This is an illustration of the force of Napoleon's 
saying, that " War is a business of positions." All 
this discussion turns on position; the ordinary, semi- 
permanent, positions of Center, North, and South; 
or the succession of positions occupied by the de- 
tachment on that line of communications along 
which it moves. This illustrates the importance of 
positions in a single instance, but is by no means ex- 
haustive of that importance. Fully to comprehend, 
it is necessary to study military and naval history; 
bearing steadily in mind Napoleon's saying, and the 
definitions of central position, interior lines, and 

Take, for example, an instance so recent as to 
have been contemporary with men not yet old, 

56 Part I: Naval Principles 

the Turkish position at Plevna in 1877. This 
stopped the Russian advance on Constantinople for 
almost five months. Why? Because, if they had 
gone on, Plevna would have been close to their line 
of communications, and in a central position rela- 
tively to their forces at the front and those in the 
rear, or behind the Danube. It was also so near, 
that, if the enemy advanced far, the garrison of 
Plevna could reach the only bridge across the Dan- 
ube, at Sistova, and might destroy it, before help 
could come; that is, Plevna possessed an interior 
line towards a point of the utmost importance. 
Under these circumstances, Plevna alone arrested 
the whole Russian movement. In the recent war 
between Japan and Russia, 1 the Port Arthur fleet 
similarly threatened the Japanese line of communica- 
tions from Japan to Manchuria, and so affected the 
whole conduct of the war. It was central, as regards 
Japan and Liao-Yang, or Mukden. Study of such 
conditions reinforces knowledge, by affording nu- 
merous illustrations of the effect of position under 
very differing circumstances. 

Let us now go back from the Danube with its 
Center, North, and South, to the communications 
between the Spanish coast and the Austrian army in 
( 11 rrnany. Should the House of Austria in Spain 
desire to send large reinforcements to the Danube, 
or to the Rhine, by way of Italy, it can do so, pro- 
vided it controls the sea; and provided also that 
nee has not shaken its hold upon North Italy. 
Such a condition constitutes open and safe com- 

1 See map on page 278. 

Fundamental Principles 57 

munications. If, however, command of the sea is 
not assured, if the French navy, say at Toulon, is 
equal to the Spanish navy in the neighborhood, 
there is danger of a reverse; while if the French 
navy is superior locally, there is great danger not 
merely of a reverse but of a serious disaster. In 
such a case the French navy, or the port of Toulon, 
flanks the Spanish line of communication; again an 
instance of position. As to position, Toulon would 
correspond to Plevna and Port Arthur. This in- 
stance illustrates, however, as Port Arthur con- 
spicuously did, that the value of a position is not in 
the bare position, but in the use you make of it. 
This, it is pertinent to note, is just the value of any- 
thing a man possesses, his brains or his fortune 
the use he makes of either. Should the French navy 
be decisively inferior locally to the Spanish, Toulon 
loses its importance. As position it is still good, 
but it cannot be used. It is an unavailable asset. So 
at Plevna, had the garrison been so small that it 
could not take the field, the place either would have 
been captured, or could have been watched by a 
detachment, while the main Russian body moved 
on. At Port Arthur, the inefficiency of the Russian 
navy permitted this course to the Japanese. They 
watched the place by navy and army, and went on 
with their march in Manchuria. Even so, the threat 
inherent in the position compelled an immense de- 
tachment of troops necessary for the siege, and so 
greatly weakened the main army in its action. 

Note that it is the nearness of Toulon, as of 
Plevna, which constitutes the menace to the line of 

58 // /: Nn.ii I I'rim-i pics 

communication; the line from the port to that of 
the communications is thus an interior line, short, 
enabling an attack by surprise, or in force. It is 
the same consideration that has made Cadiz at one 
time, Gibraltar now, Malta, Jamaica, Guantanamo 
Bay, all threatening positions; the ones to vessels 
bound up or down the Mediterranean to or from 
Suez, the others to vessels going to or from the 
Isthmus of Panama. If it had been feasible for 
Spain to carry her reinforcements south of Sardinia 
and thence north, Toulon would so far have lost 
much of this value. As the line drew near Genoa, 
it would have regained control only in some measure; 
that is, to a less degree and for a shorter time. As 
a matter of fact such roundabout lines, fausses routes 
as Napoleon called them, have played a notable 
part in the strategy of a weaker party. The most 
convenient commercial route is not necessarily the 
most significant to strategy. Napoleon, for ex- 
ample, when bound to Egypt from Malta in 1798, 
did not go direct, but first sighted Crete ami then 
bore away for Egypt. Owing to this, Nelson in 
pursuit missed the French because he naturally went 

The same beneficial effect the same amount of 
protection as a roundabout line would give might 
have been obtained if the Spanish navy on the 
Atlantic coast threatened French ports and com- 
merce, and thus induced France to keep her navy, 
in whole or in part, in that quarter, weakening lu-r 
Toulon force; so that, though favorably situated, 
it was not strong enough to attack. This was 

Fundamental Principles 59 

actually the case up to 1634, in which year the defeat 
of the allies of France at Nordlingen, due to Spanish 
troops from Italy reinforcing the Imperial armies 
in Germany, compelled France to declare open war 
against Spain and to transfer her fleet to the 
Mediterranean. This effect was produced also in 
1898 on the United States; not by the Spanish navy, 
which was innoxious in everything but talk, but by 
the fears of the American people, which prompted 
the American Government to keep the so-called 
Flying Squandron in Hampton Roads, instead of 
close to the probable scene of war. Owing to this 
distribution, if Cervera's squadron had been efficient, 
it could have got into Cienfuegos instead of San- 
tiago; a very much harder nut to crack, because in 
close railroad communication with Havana and with 
the great mass of the Spanish army in Cuba. It is 
the same sort of unintelligent fear which prompts 
the demand now to send half the battle-fleet to the 
Pacific. No course could be more entirely satis- 
factory to an enemy, or more paralyzing to the 
United States fleet, than just this. All or none; the 
battle-fleet concentrated, whether in the Pacific or 
the Atlantic. 

You will remember that in the war with Spain the 
United States navy had reproduced for it the situa- 
tion I have depicted, of a detachment trying to pass 
round the Danube from North to South. The 
" Oregon " was the detachment, and she had to 
join the American fleet in the West Indies, in spite 
of the Spanish squadron. She reached Barbados 
May 18; the day before Cervera entered Santiago, 

60 Part I: Naval Principles 

and six days after he left Martinique, which is only 
one hundred miles from Barbados. The utter in- 
efficiency of the Spanish navy has caused us to lose 
sight of the risk to the " Oregon," which was keenly 
felt by her commander, and concerning which at the 
moment two former secretaries of the navy ex- 
pressed to me their anxiety. Despite this experi- 
ence, there are those now who would reconstitute 
it for us, half the fleet in the Pacific and half in the 
Atlantic. Should then war arise with a European 
state, or with Japan, it would be open to either 
enemy to take the Danube position between our two 
divisions, as Togo did between the Port Arthur 
and the Baltic squadrons. . . . 


The general war against the House of Austria, 
as conducted by Richelieu, appears to have suffered 
from the same cause that saps the vigor of many 
wars; he attempted too many things at once, instead 
of concentrating for decided superiority in some one 
or two localities. For such concentration he had 
good opportunities, owing to the central position 
and interior lines possessed by France. It was open 
to him to act in great force cither in Belgium, or on 
the Rhine, or in Italy, or towards Spain. More- 
over, he had the initial advantage of a natural con- 
centration: one nation against two, and those 
separated in space. The proverbial weakness of 
alliances is due to inferior power of concentration. 
Granting the same aggregate of force, it is never 

Fundamental Principles 61 

as great in two hands as in one, because it is not 
perfectly concentrated. Each party to an alliance 
usually has its particular aim, which divides action. 
In any military scheme that comes before you, 
let your first question to yourself be, Is this 
consistent with the requirement of concentration? 
Never attempt to straddle, to do two things at 
'the same time, unless your force is evidently so 
supreme that you have clearly more than enough 
for each. 

Our profession has never produced a man more 
daring in enterprise, nor more skillful in manage- 
ment, than Nelson. Remember, therefore, and al- 
ways, that, when he sent off two frigates on some 
expedition, he charged their captains : 

" If you meet two enemies, do not each attack 
one. Combine both on one of the enemy; you will 
make sure of that one, and you may also get the 
other afterwards; but, whether the second escape or 
not, your country will have won a victory, and 
gained a ship." 

The same consideration applies to ship design. 
You cannot have everything. If you attempt it, 
you will lose everything; by which I mean that in no 
one quality will your vessel be as efficient as if you 
had concentrated purpose on that one. On a given 
tonnage, which in ship-building corresponds to 
a given size of army or of fleet, there cannot be 
had the highest speed, and the heaviest battery, and 
the thickest armor, and the longest coal endurance, 
which the tonnage would allow to any one of these 
objects by itself. If you try, you will be repeating 

62 Part I: Naval Principles 

Richelieu's mistake when he tried to carry on offen- 
sive war on four frontiers. 

The fighting order of navies still continues a line; 
which is called more properly a column, because 
the ships are ranged one behind the other. Never- 
theless, if the arrangement of the guns, from van to 
rear, is regarded, it will be seen that they really are 
deployed on a line fronting the enemy. As a rule, 
in instructed naval warfare, attack has been on one 
flank of that line. It is commonly spoken of as an 
attack on van or rear, because of the columnar for- 
mation of the ships, but it is really a flank attack; 
and, whichever flank is chosen, the attack on the 
other is essentially refused, because the numbers 
devoted to it are not sufficient to press an attack 
home. The culmination of the sail era Tra- 
falgar was fought exactly on these lines. Nelson 
concentrated the bulk of his fleet, a superior force, 
on the left flank of the enemy, which happened to 
be the rear; against the right flank he sent a smaller 
number. He did not indeed give specific orders to 
the smaller body not to attack, or to refuse them- 
selves. That was not his way. Moreover, he in- 
tended himself to take charge of this attack in 
smaller force, and to be governed by circumstances 
as to the development of it; but the result was 
shown in the fact that the larger part of the enemy's 
right flank escaped, and all probably would if they 
had maneuvered well. The hostile loss fell on the 
other flank and on the center; and not only was this 
the case in result, but also Nelson in form and in 
his orders purposed just this. He put the concen- 

Fundamental Principles 63 

trated attack in the hands of his second; " I," said 
he, in effect, " will see that the other flank of the 
enemy does not interfere." Conditions modified his 
action; but that was his plan, and although, from the 
particular conditions, he actually pierced the enemy's 
center, still, having done so, the subsequent attack 
fell upon the flank originally intended, while the 
other flank was kept in check by the rear ships of 
Nelson's own division. These, as they advanced in 
column, lay athwart the line by which the enemy's 
van, if it tacked, would approach the rear, or other 
flank; and they thus prevented its approach by that 
route until too late to be effective. 

Nelson, who was a thoughtful as well as a daring 
tactician, expressed reasons for attacking one flank 
rather than another, under differing conditions in 
which the fleets presented themselves; but, speaking 
generally, the rear was the better to attack, because 
the van could not, and cannot, come as soon to help 
the rear as the rear can the van. It has to turn 
round, to begin with ; and, before turning round, its 
commander has to make up his mind, which few men 
do quickly, unless they have reached conclusions 
beforehand. All this means time. Besides, the 
assailant can more easily place himself in the way 
of such new movement of the van, than he can of 
the rear coming up on the line of advance it already 
has. Still, there are some reasons in favor of the 
van. Nelson in 1801 said that in case of encounter- 
ing a Russian fleet he would attack the van; because 
injury to it would throw the enemy's order into 
confusion, from which the Russians were not good 

64 Part I: Naval Principles 

enough maneuverers to recover. That is a special 
reason, not a general. It takes account of a par- 
ticular circumstance, as a general on shore does of 
a particular locality. When Farragut passed the 
Mobile forts his van was thrown into confusion, and 
all know what a critical moment that was. It mat- 
ters little what the incident is, if the confusion is 

In the Battle of the Japan Sea the attack again 
was on a flank, and that the van. Whether this was 
due to previous purpose of the Japanese, or merely 
arose from the conditions as they presented them- 
selves, I do not know; but its tendency certainly 
would be to cause confusion. I do not wish, how- 
ever, to argue here a question of tactics. My sub- 
ject is strategy, and I am using tactics simply to 
illustrate the predominance, everywhere, under all 
conditions and from the nature of things, of the one 
great principle of concentration; and that, too, in the 
specific method of so distributing your own force 
as to be superior to the enemy in one quarter, while 
in the other you hold him in check long enough to 
permit your main attack to reach its full result. 
That necessary time may be half an hour on a field 
of battle; in a campaign it may be days, weeks, 
perhaps more. 

... In any frontier line, or any strategic front 
of operations, or any line of battle, offensive effort 
may, and therefore should, be concentrated in one 
part, not distributed along the whole. This pos- 
sibility, and a convenient way of conceiving it, 
Jomini expresses in an aphorism which may be 

Fundamental Principles 65 

commended to memory, because it sums up one im- 
portant consideration concerning any military dis- 
position whatever; whether it be the strategic front 
of operations in a campaign, or a tactical order of 
battle, or a frontier. Every such situation, Jomini 
says, may be properly regarded as a line; and every 
line divides, logically and actually, into three parts, 
the center, and the two extremes, or flanks. 

Guard yourselves, of course, from imagining 
three equal parts. We are not dealing here with 
mathematics, but with military conceptions. For 
practical results, let us apply at once to the United 
States of to-day. The United States has a long 
ocean frontier, broken at Mexico by the inter- 
position of land, as the French maritime frontier is 
broken at the Pyrenees; yet the coast lines, like the 
French, possess a certain maritime continuity, in 
that ships can pass from end to end by sea. In such 
cases, it may be said without exaggeration that an 
ocean frontier is continuous. At present, the United 
States has one frontier which is strictly continuous, 
by land as by water, from the coast of Maine to the 
Rio Grande. There are in it, by natural division, 
three principal parts : the Atlantic, the Gulf, and the 
Straits of Florida. I do not deny that for purposes 
of study further convenient subdivisions may be 
made; but it may fairly be claimed that these three 
are clear, are primary, and are principal. They are 
very unequal in length, and, from the military stand- 
point, in importance; for while the peninsula of 
Florida does not rank very high in the industrial 
interests of the nation, a superior hostile fleet 

66 Pan I: Naval Principles 

securely based in the Straits of Florida could effec- 
tively control intercourse by water between the two 
flanks. It would possess central position; and in 
virtue of that central position, its superiority need 
not be over the whole United States navy, should 
that be divided on each side of the central position. 
The supposed enemy, in such position, would need 
only to be decisively superior to each of the divi- 
sions lying on either side; whereas, were they 
united, superiority would require to be over the 
whole. It was this condition which made Cuba for 
the first century of our national existence a con- 
sideration of the first importance in our Inter- 
national relations. It flanked national communica- 
tions, commercial and military. We know that 
there exists in our country an element of wisdom 
which would treat such a situation, which geography 
has constituted for us, as two boys do an apple. 
This would divide the fleet between the two coasts 
and call it fair to both; because, so it is reasoned, 
or rather argued, defending both. It certainly, 
however, would not be concentration, nor effective. 
Before passing on, note the striking resemblance 
between the Florida peninsula and that of Korea. 
Togo, at Masampo, was to Rozhestvensky and the 
Russians at Vladivostok just as a hostile fleet in the 
Straits of Florida would be to American divisions 
in the Gulf and at Hampton Roads. In like 
manner at an earlier period Togo and Kamimura, 
working apart but on interior lines, separated the 
three fine fighting ships in Vladivostok from the 
Port Arthur division. 

Fundamental Principles 67 

The United States, however, has an even more 
urgent situation as to frontier in its Atlantic and 
Pacific coasts. If my claim is correct, in the instance 
of France, that a water frontier is continuous when 
passage from end to end by water is practicable, 
this is also continuous; and the battle-fleet has 
demonstrated the fact within the past few years. 
The United States, then, has a maritime frontier 
line from Eastport, Maine, to Puget Sound; and, 
like other military lines, it divides into three prin- 
cipal parts immediately obvious, the Atlantic 
Coast, the Pacific Coast, and the line between. This 
summary will not be any more true, nor any more 
useful for reflection, when the line passes by Panama 
instead of the Straits of Magellan; but it certainly 
will be more obvious. It then will be seen easily, 
as now may be seen certainly, that the important 
part of the long line in the present case, as in the 
future, is the center, because that insures or prevents 
passage in force from side to side; the transfer of 
force; in short, the communications. This repro- 
duces again the Danube position, and also the chain 
of Spanish positions from Genoa to Belgium. It is 
once more the central position, which we have met 
before in such varying localities and periods; but 
the central position of Panama has over that now 
open to us, by Magellan, the advantage of interior 
lines, of which class of lines indeed the contrast 
between the existing and the future of routes offers 
a notable illustration. 


* l^I IF strategic value of any place depends upon 
^ three principal conditions: 

1. Its position, or more exactly its situation. 
A place may have great strength, but be so situated 
with regard to the strategic lines as not to be worth 

2. Its military strength, offensive and defensive. 
A place may be well situated and have large re- 
sources and yet possess little strategic value, because 
weak. It may, on the other hand, while not nat- 
urally strong, be given artificial strength for de- 
fense. The word " fortify " means simply to make 

3. The resources, of the place itself and of the 
surrounding country. . . . 

Where all three conditions, situation, intrinsic 
strength, and abundant resources, are found in the 
same place, it becomes of great consequence strate- 
gically and may be of the very first importance, 
though not always. For it must be remarked that 
there are other considerations, lesser in the purely 
military point of view, which enhance the conse- 
quence of a seaport even strategically; such as its 
being a great mart of trade, a blow to which would 
cripple the prosperity of the country; or the capital, 

1 "Naval Strategy," pp. 130-163. 

Strategic Positions 69 

the fall of which has a political effect additional to 
its importance otherwise. 

I. Situation 

Of the three principal conditions, the first, situa- 
tion, is the most indispensable; because strength and 
resources can be artificially supplied or increased, 
but it passes the power of man to change the situa- 
tion of a port which lies outside the limits of 
strategic effect. 

Generally, value of situation depends upon near- 
ness to a sea route; to those lines of trade which, 
when drawn upon the ocean common, are as imagi- 
nary as the parallels of the chart, yet as really and 
usefully exist. If the position be on two routes at 
the same time, that is, near the crossing, the value 
is enhanced. A cross-roads is essentially a central 
position, facilitating action in as many directions as 
there are roads. Those familiar with works on the 
art of land war will recognize the analogies. The 
value becomes yet more marked if, by the lay of 
the land, the road to be followed becomes very 
narrow; as at the Straits of Gibraltar, the English 
Channel, and in a less degree the Florida Strait. 
Perhaps narrowing should be applied to every inlet 
of the sea, by which trade enters into and is dis- 
tributed over a great extent of country; such as the 
mouth of the Mississippi, of the Dutch and German 
rivers, New York harbor, etc. As regards the sea, 
however, harbors or the mouths of rivers are usually 
termini or entrepots, at which goods are trans- 
shipped before going farther. If the road be nar- 

70 Part I: Naval Principles 

rowed to a mere canal, or to the mouth of a river, 
the point to which vessels must come is reduced 
almost to the geometrical definition of a point and 
near-by positions have great command. Suez pre- 
sents this condition now, and Panama soon will. 

Analogously, positions in narrow seas are more 
important than those in the great ocean, because it 
is less possible to avoid them by a circuit. If these 
seas are not merely the ends " termini " of 
travel but " highways," parts of a continuous route; 
that is, if commerce not only comes to them but 
passes through to other fields beyond, the number of 
passing ships is increased and thereby the strategic 
value of the controlling points. . . . 

[Illustrations are here employed to show that, 
owing to the freedom of movements on the open sea, 
dangerous positions when not located in narrow 
channels are more easily avoided than on land. 
Hence " fausses routes et 'moments perdus" in 
Napoleon's phrase, play an important part in naval 
operations, as shown by Napoleon's route to Egypt 
via Malta and Crete, and Rozhestvensky's choice 
of routes before Tsushima. On the other hand, 
obstacles when they exist are impassable. Only 
submarines can avoid danger by transit over land. 

II. Military Strength 

A. Defensive Strength. [Military strength is 
considered in two aspects, (A) defensive, and (B) 
offensive. Under defensive strength, it is first 
pointed out that, as illustrated by Port Arthur and 

Strategic Positions 71 

Santiago, coast bases are in chief danger of capture 
from the land side. While it is the business of the 
navy to prevent the landing of forces, its operations, 
though defensive in result, must be offensive in 
character, and not confined to the vicinity of the 
bases. EDITOR.] 

In the sphere of maritime war, the navy repre- 
sents the army in the field; and the fortified strategic 
harbors, upon which it falls back as ports of refuge 
after battle or defeat, for repairs or for supplies, 
correspond precisely to strongholds, like Metz, 
Strasburg, Ulm, upon which, systematically occupied 
with reference to the strategic character of the 
theater of war, military writers agree the defense 
of a country must be founded. The foundation, 
however, must not be taken for the superstructure 
for which it exists. In war, the defensive exists 
mainly that the offensive may act more freely. In 
sea warfare, the offensive is assigned to the navy; 
and if the latter assumes to itself the defensive, it 
simply locks up a part of its trained men in garrisons, 
which could be filled as well by forces that have not 
their peculiar skill. To this main proposition I 
must add a corollary, that if the defense of ports, 
many in number, be attributed to the navy, experi- 
ence shows that the navy will be subdivided among 
them to an extent that will paralyze its efficiency. 
I was amused, but at the same time instructed as to 
popular understanding of war, by the consternation 
aroused in Great Britain by one summer's maneu- 
vers, already alluded to, and the remedy proposed 
in some papers. It appeared that several seaports 

7J Part I: Naval Principles 

were open to bombardment and consequent exaction 
of subsidies by a small squadron, and it was gravely 
urged that the navy should be large enough to spare 
a small detachment to each port. Of what use is a 
navy, if it is to be thus whittled away? But a 
popular outcry will drown the voice of military 

. . . The strictly defensive strength of a seaport 
depends therefore upon permanent works, the pro- 
vision of which is not the business of naval officers. 
The navy is interested in them because, when effec- 
tive, they release it from any care about the port; 
from defensive action to the offensive, which is its 
proper sphere. 

There is another sense in which a navy is re- 
garded as defensive; namely, that the existence of 
an adequate navy protects from invasion by com- 
manding the sea. That is measurably and in very 
large degree true, and is a strategic function of great 
importance; but this is a wholly different question 
from that of the defensive strength of seaports, of 
strategic points, with which we are now dealing. It 
therefore will be postponed, with a simple warning 
against the opinion that because the navy thus de- 
fends there is no need for local protection of the 
strategic ports; no need, that is, for fortifications. 
This view affirms that a military force can always, 
under all circumstances, dispense with secure bases 
of operations; in other words, that it can never be 
evaded, nor know momentary mishap. 

I have now put before you reasons for rejecting 
the opinion that the navy is the proper instrument, 

Strategic Positions 73 

generally speaking, for coast defense in the narrow 
sense of the expression, which limits it to the defense 
of ports. The reasons given may be summed up, 
and reduced to four principles, as follows: 

1. That for the same amount of offensive power, 
floating batteries, or vessels of very little mobility, 
are less strong defensively against naval attack than 
land works are. 

2. That by employing able-bodied seafaring men 
to defend harbors you lock up offensive strength in 
an inferior, that is, in a defensive, effort. 

3. That it is injurious to the morale and skill of 
seamen to keep them thus on the defensive and off 
the sea. This has received abundant historical proof 
in the past. 

4. That in giving up the offensive the navy gives 
up its proper sphere, which is also the most effective. 

B. Offensive Strength. The offensive strength 
of a seaport, considered independently of its strate- 
gic situation and of its natural and acquired re- 
sources, consists in its capacity: 

1. To assemble and hold a large military force, 
of both ships of war and transports. 

2. To launch such force safely and easily into 
the deep. 

3. To follow it with a continued support until 
the campaign is ended. In such support are always 
to be reckoned facilities for docking, as the most 
important of all supports. 

[These points are discussed in detail. It is noted 
that a port with two outlets, like New York and 
Vladivostok, has a decided advantage. EDITOR.] 

74 Part I: Naval Principles 

III. Resources 

The wants of a navy are so many and so varied 
that it would be time lost to name them separately. 
The resources which meet them may be usefully 
divided under two heads, natural and artificial. 
The latter, again, may be conveniently and accu- 
rately subdivided into resources developed by man 
in his peaceful occupation and use of a country, and 
those which are immediately and solely created for 
the maintenance of war. 

Other things being equal, the most favorable con- 
dition is that where great natural resources, joined 
to a good position for trade, have drawn men to 
settle and develop the neighboring country. Where 
the existing resources are purely artificial and for 
war, the value of the port, in so far, is inferior to 
that of one where the ordinary occupations of the 
people supply the necessary resources. To use the 
phraseology of our subject, a seaport that has good 
strategic situation and great military strength, but 
to which all resources must be brought from a 
distance, is much inferior to a similar port having 
a rich and developed friendly region behind it. 
Gibraltar and ports on small islands, like Santa 
Lucia and Martinique, labor under this disadvan- 
tage, as compared with ports of England, France, 
the United States; or even of a big island like Cuba, 
if the latter be developed by an industrial and com- 
mercial people. 


'T^HE most important of strategic lines are those 
* which concern the communications. Communi- 
cations dominate war. This has peculiar force on 
shore, because an army is immediately dependent 
upon supplies frequently renewed. It can endure 
a brief interruption much less readily than a fleet 
can, because ships carry the substance of communica- 
tions largely in their own bottoms. So long as the 
fleet is able to face the enemy at sea, communica- 
tions mean essentially, not geographical lines, like 
the roads an army has to follow, but those neces- 
saries, supplies of which the ships cannot carry hi 
their own hulls beyond a limited amount. These 
are, first, fuel; second, ammunition; last of all, food. 
These necessaries, owing to the facility of water 
transportation as compared with land, can accom- 
pany the movements of a fleet in a way impossible 
to the train of an army. An army train follows 
rather than accompanies, by roads which may be 
difficult and must be narrow; whereas maritime 
roads are easy, and illimitably wide. 

Nevertheless, all military organizations, land or 
sea, are ultimately dependent upon open communi- 

1 "Naval Strategy," pp. 166-167. For illustration and further dis- 
cussion of strategic lines, see "General Strategy of the War of 1812," in 
this volume, pp. 229-240. EDITOR. 

76 Part I: Naval Principles 

cations with the basis of the national power; and 
the line of communications is doubly of value, be- 
cause it usually represents also the line of retreat. 
Retreat is the extreme expression of dependence 
upon the home base. In the matter of communica- 
tions, free supplies and open retreat are two essen- 
tials to the safety of an army or of a fleet. Napoleon 
at Marengo in 1800, and again at Ulm in 1805, 
succeeded in placing himself upon the Austrian line 
of communication and of retreat, in force sufficient 
to prevent supplies coming forward from the base, 
or the army moving backward to the base. At 
Marengo there was a battle, at Ulm none; but at 
each the results depended upon the same condition, 
the line of communication controlled by the 
enemy. In the War of Secession the forts of the 
Mississippi were conquered as soon as Farragut's 
fleet, by passing above, held their line of communica- 
tions. Mantua in 1796 was similarly conquered as 
soon as Napoleon had placed himself upon the line 
of retreat of its garrison. It held out for six 
months, very properly; but the rest of the campaign 
was simply an effort of the outside Austrians to 
drive the French off the line, and thus to reinforce 
the garrison or to enable it to retreat. 

Importance of Sea Communications l 

Fxcept Russia and Japan, the nations actively 
concerned in this great problem [the problem of 
Asia] rest, for home bases, upon remote countries. 

1 "The Problem of Asia" (1900), pp. 124-127. 

Strategic Lines 77 

We find therefore two classes of powers: those 
whose communication is by land, and those who 
depend upon the sea. The sea lines are the most 
numerous and easy, and they will probably be deter- 
minative of the courses of trade. Among them 
there are two the advantages of which excel all 
others for Europe by Suez, from America by 
way of the Pacific Ocean. The latter will doubt- 
less receive further modification by an isthmian 
canal, extending the use of the route to the Atlantic 
seaboard of America, North and South. 

Communications dominate war; broadly con- 
sidered, they are the most important single element 
in strategy, political or military. In its control 
over them has lain the pre-eminence of sea power 
as an influence upon the history of the past; and in 
this it will continue, for the attribute is inseparable 
from its existence. This is evident because, for 
reasons previously explained, transit in large quan- 
tities and for great distances is decisively more 
easy and copious by water than by land. The sea, 
therefore, is the great medium of communications 
of commerce. The very sound, "commerce," 
brings with it a suggestion of the sea, for it is mari- 
time commerce that has in all ages been most fruit- 
ful of wealth; and wealth is but the concrete ex- 
pression of a nation's energy of life, material and 
mental. The power, therefore, to insure these 
communications to one's self, and to interrupt them 
for an adversary, affects the very root of a nation's 
vigor, as in military operations it does the existence 
of an army, or as the free access to rain and sun 

78 Part I: Naval Principles 

communication from without docs the life of a 
plant. This is the prerogative of the sea powers; 
and this chiefly if not, Indeed, this alone they 
have to set off against the disadvantage of position 
and of numbers under which, with reference to land 
power, they labor in Asia. It is enough. Pressure 
afar off diversion is adequate to relieve that 
near at hand, as Napoleon expected to conquer 
Pondicherry on the banks of the Vistula. But if 
the sea powers embrace the proposition that has 
found favor in America, and, by the concession of 
immunity to an enemy's commerce in time of war, 
surrender their control of maritime communica- 
tions, they will have abdicated the scepter of the sea, 
for they will have abandoned one chief means by 
which pressure in one quarter the sea balances 
pressure in a remote and otherwise inaccessible 
quarter. Never was moment for such abandon- 
ment less propitious than the present, when the 
determination of influence in Asia is at stake. 


[ / T*HE situation here considered is that of a fleet 
* that has driven the enemy from a base in the 
theater of war, but has still to cope with the enemy 
fleet falling back on another base. EDITOR.] 

The case of further advance from your new base 
may not be complicated by the consideration of great 
distance. The next step requisite to be taken may 
be short, as from Cuba to Jamaica; or it may be 
that the enemy's fleet is still at sea, in which case it 
is the great objective, now as always. Its being at 
sea may be because retreating, from the position 
you have occupied, towards his remoter base; either 
because conscious of inferiority, or, perhaps, after 
a defeat more or less decisive. It will then be 
necessary to act with rapidity, in order to cut off 
the enemy from his port of destination. If there is 
reason to believe that you can overtake and pass 
him with superior force, every effort to do so must 
be made. The direction of his retreat is known or 
must be ascertained, and it will be borne in mind 
that the base to which he is retreating and his fleet 
are separated parts of one force, the union of which 
must be prevented. In such a case, the excuses fre- 
quently made for a sluggish pursuit ashore, such as 
fatigue of troops, heavy roads, etc., do not apply. 
Crippled battleships must be dropped, or ordered 
"Naval Strategy," pp. 266-272. 

80 Pan I: Naval Principles 

to follow with the colliers. Such a pursuit presumes 
but one disadvantage to the chasing fleet, viz., that 
it is leaving its coal base while the chase is ap- 
proaching his; and this, if the calculations are close, 
may give the pursuing admiral great anxiety. Such 
anxieties are the test and penalty of greatness. In 
such cases, excuses for failure attributed to short- 
ness of coal will be closely scrutinized; and justly. 
In all other respects, superiority must be assumed, 
because on no other condition could such headlong 
pursuit be made. It aims at a great success, ami 
successes will usually be in proportion to superiority, 
either original or acquired. " What the country 
needs," said Nelson, " is the annihilation of the 
enemy. Only numbers can annihilate. " 

If such a chase follow a battle, it can scarcely fail 
that the weaker party the retreating party is 
also distressed by crippled ships, which he may be 
forced to abandon or fight. Strenuous, unrclax- 
ing pursuit is therefore as imperative after a battle 
as is courage during it. Great political results often 
flow from correct military action; a fact which no 
military commander is at liberty to ignore. He may 
very well not know of those results; it is enough to 
know that they may happen, and nothing can excuse 
his losing a point which by exertion he might have 
scored. Napoleon, says Jomini, never forgave the 
general who in 1 796, by resting his troops a couple 
of hours, failed to get between an Austrian division 
and Mantua, in which it was seeking refuge, and by 
his neglect found it. The failure of Admiral de 
Tourville to pursue vigorously the defeated Dutch 

Offensive Operations ' 81 

and English fleet, after the battle of Beachy Head, 
in 1690, caused that victory to be indecisive, and 
helped to fasten the crown of England on the head 
of a Dutch King, who was the soul of the alliance 
against France. Slackness in following up victory 
had thus a decisive influence upon the results of the 
whole war, both on the continent and the sea. I may 
add, it has proved injurious to the art of naval 
strategy, by the seeming confirmation it has given 
to the theory of the " fleet in being." It was not 
the beaten and crippled English and Dutch " fleet 
in being " that prevented an invasion of England. 
It was the weakness or inertness of Tourville, or 
the unreadiness of the French transports. 

Similarly, the refusal of Admiral Hotham to 
pursue vigorously a beaten French fleet in 1795, 
unquestionably not only made that year's campaign 
indecisive, but made possible Napoleon's Italian 
campaign of 1796, from which flowed his whole 
career and its effects upon history. The same 
dazzling career received its sudden mortal stab 
when, in the height of his crushing advance in Spain, 
with its capital in his hands, at the very moment 
when his vast plans seemed on the eve of accom- 
plishment, a more enterprising British leader, Sir 
John Moore, moved his petty army to Sahagun, on 
the flank of Napoleon's communications between 
France and Madrid. The blow recoiled upon 
JVloore, who was swept as by a whirlwind to Coruna, 
and into the sea; but Spain was saved. The Em- 
peror could not retrieve the lost time and oppor- 
tunity. He could not return to Madrid in person, 

82 Part I: Naval Principles 

but had to entrust to several subordinates the t 
which only his own supreme genius could suco 
fully supervise. From the military standpoint, his 
downfall dates from that day. The whole career 
of Wellington, to Waterloo, lay in the womb of 
Moore's daring conception. But for that, wrote 
Napier, the Peninsular War would not have re- 
quired a chronicler. 

An admiral may not be able to foresee such re- 
mote consequences of his action, but he can safely 
adopt the principle expressed by Nelson, in the 
instance just cited, after hearing his commander-in- 
chief say they had done well enough: "If ten ships 
out of eleven were taken, I would never call it well 
enough, if we were able to get at the eleventh." 

The relations between the fleets of Admirals 
Rozhestvensky and Togo prior to their meeting off 
Tsushima bore no slight resemblance to those be- 
tween a pursued and a pursuing fleet. The Russian 
fleet, which had started before the Port Arthur 
division succumbed, was placed by that event in the 
position of a fleet which has suffered defeat so severe 
that its first effort must be to escape into its own 
ports. This was so obvious that many felt a retreat 
upon the Baltic was the only course left open; but, 
failing that, Rozhestvensky argued that he should 
rush on to Vladivostok at once, before the Japanese 
should get again into the best condition to intercept 
him, by repairing their ships, cleaning the bottoms, 
and refreshing the ships' companies. Instead of so 
ordering, the Russian government decided to hold 
him at Nossi-Be (the north end of Madagascar), 

Offensive Operations 83 

pending a reinforcement to be sent under Admiral 
Nebogatoff. Something is to be said for both views, 
in the abstract; but considering that the reinforce- 
ment was heterogeneous and inferior in character, 
that the Russian first aim was not battle but escape 
to Vladivostok, and, especially, that the Japanese 
were particularly anxious to obtain the use of delay 
for the very purpose Rozhestvensky feared, it seems 
probable that he was right. In any event, he was 
delayed at Nossi-Be from January 9 to March 16; 
and afterwards at Kamranh Bay in French Cochin- 
China, from April 14 to May 9, when Nebogatoff 
joined. Allowing time for coaling and refitting, 
this indicates a delay of sixty to seventy days; the 
actual time underway from Nossi-Be to Tsushima 
being only forty-five days. Thus, but for the wait 
for Nebogatoff, the Russian division would have 
reached Tsushima two months before it did, or 
about March 20. 

Togo did not have to get ahead of a flying fleet, 
for by the fortune of position he was already ahead 
of it; but he did have to select the best position for 
intercepting it, as well as to decide upon his general 
course of action: whether, for instance, he should 
advance to meet it; whether he should attempt 
embarrassment by his superior force of torpedo 
vessels, so as to cripple or destroy some of its units, 
thus reducing further a force already inferior; also 
the direction and activities of his available scouts. 
His action may be taken as expressing his opinions 
on these subjects. He did not advance; he did not 
attempt harassment prior to meeting; he concen- 

S4 Part I: Naval /V/M<-/>/ 

tratcd his entire battle force on the line by which he 
expected the enemy must advance; and he was so 
far in ignorance of their movements that he received 
information only on the very morning of the battle. 
This was well enough; but it is scarcely unreason- 
able to say it might have been bettered. The 
Japanese, however, had behind them a large part 
of a successful naval campaign, the chief points of 
which it is relevant to our subject to note. They had 
first by a surprise attack inflicted a marked injury 
on the enemy's fleet, which obtained for them a time 
of delay and opportunity during its enforced in- 
activity. They had then reduced one of the enemy's 
two naval bases, and destroyed the division sheltered 
in it. By this they had begun to beat the enemy in 
detail, and had left the approaching reinforcement 
only one possible port of arrival. 

If a flying fleet has been lost to sight and has but 
one port of refuge, pursuit, of course, will be 
directed upon that port; but if there are more, the 
chasing admiral will have to decide upon what point 
to direct his fleet, and will send out despatch vessels 
in different directions to find the enemy and transmit 
intelligence. Cruisers engaged in such duty should 
be notified of the intended or possible movements 
of the fleet, and when practicable should be sent in 
couples; for although wireless telegraphy has now 
superseded the necessity of sending one back with 
information, while the other remains in touch with 
the enemy, accidents may happen, and in so im- 
portant a matter it seems expedient to double pre- 
cautions. The case resembles duplicating important 

Offensive Operations 85 

correspondence; for wireless cannot act before it 
has news, and to obtain news objects must be seen. 
It is to be remembered, too, that wireless messages 
may be intercepted, to the serious disadvantage of 
the sender. It seems possible that conjunctures may 
arise when it will be safer to send a vessel with 
tidings rather than commit them to air waves. 

Thus, in theory, and to make execution perfect, 
to capture, so to say, Nelson's eleventh ship, the 
aim must be to drive the enemy out of every foot- 
hold in the whole theater of war, and particularly 
to destroy or shut up his fleet. Having accom- 
plished the great feature of the task by getting hold 
of the most decisive position, further effort must be 
directed towards, possibly not upon, those points 
which may serve him still for bases. In so doing, 
your fleet must not be divided, unless overwhelm- 
ingly strong, and must not extend its lines of com- 
munication beyond the power of protecting them, 
unless it be for a dash of limited duration. 

If compelled to choose between fortified ports of 
the enemy and his fleet, the latter will be regarded 
as the true objective; but a blockade of the ports, 
or an attack upon them, may be the surest means of 
bringing the ships within reach. Thus, in the War 
of American Independence, the siege of Gibraltar 
compelled the British fleet on more than one occa- 
sion to come within fighting reach of the enemy's 
blockading fleet, in order to throw in supplies. That 
the allies did not attack, except on one occasion, does 
not invalidate the lesson. Corbett in his " Seven 
Years' War" points out very justly, in Byng's cele- 

Part I: Naval Principles 

brated failure, which cost him his life, that if he had 
moved against the French transports, in a neigh- 
boring bay, the French admiral would have had to 
attack, and the result might have been more favor- 
able to the British. Such movements are essentially 
blows at the communications of the enemy, and if 
aimed without unduly risking your own will be in 
thorough accord with the most assured principles of 
strategy. A militarily effective blockade of a base 
essential to the enemy will force his fleet either to 
fight or to abandon the theater of war. Thus, as 
has been pointed out elsewhere, in Suffren's cam- 
paign in Indian Seas, so long as Trincomalee was in 
possession of the British, a threat at it was sure to 
bring them out to fight, although it was not their 
principal base. The abandonment of the theater of 
war by the navy will cause the arsenal to fall in time, 
through failure of resources, as Gibraltar must have 
fallen if the British fleet had not returned and sup- 
plied it at intervals. Such a result, however, is less 
complete than a victory over the enemy's navy, 
which would lead to the same end, and so be a double 
success, ships and port. 


TT is true that in certain respects the defensive has 
** advantages, the possession of which may even 
justify an expression, which has been stated as a 
maxim of war, that " Defense is a stronger form of 
war than Offense is." I do not like the expression, 
for it seems to me misleading as to the determina- 
tive characteristics of a defensive attitude; but it 
may pass, if properly qualified. What is meant by 
it is that in a particular operation, or even in a 
general plan, the party on the defense, since he 
makes no forward movement for the time, can 
strengthen his preparations, make deliberate and 
permanent dispositions; while the party on the offen- 
sive, being in continual movement, is more liable to 
mistake, of which the defense may take advantage, 
and in any case has to accept as part of his problem 
the disadvantage, to him, of the accumulated prep- 
arations that the defense has been making while he 
has been marching. The extreme example of prep- 
aration is a fortified permanent post; but similar 
instances are found in a battle field carefully chosen 
for advantages of ground, where attack is awaited, 
and in a line of ships, which by the solidarity of its 
order, and deployment of broadside, awaits an 
enemy who has to approach in column with disad- 
vantage as to train of guns. In so far, the form 
1 "Naval Strategy," pp. 277-280. 

Part /: Naval Principles 

taken by the defense is stronger than the form as- 
sumed for the moment by the offense. 

. >u will think clearly, you will recognize that 
at Tsushima the Japanese were on the defensive, 
for their object was to stop, to thwart, the Russian 
attempt. Essentially, whatever the tactical method 
they adopted, they were to spread their broadsides 
across the road to Vladivostok, and await. The 
Russians were on the offensive, little as we are ac- 
customed so to regard them ; they had to get through 
to Vladivostok if they could. They had to hold 
their course to the place, and to break through the 
Japanese, if they could. In short, they were on 
the offensive, and the form of their approach had 
to be in column, bows on, a weaker form, 
which they had to abandon, tactically, as soon as 
they came under fire. 

In our hostilities with Spain, also, Cervera's 
movement before reaching Santiago was offensive in 
character, the attitude of the United States defen- 
sive; that is, he was trying to effect something which 
the American Navy was set to prevent. There being 
three principal Spanish ports, Havana, Cienfuegos, 
and Santiago, we could not be certain for which he 
would try, and should have been before two in such 
force that an attempt by him would have assured a 
battle. We were strong enough for such a dis- 
position. The two ports thus to be barred were 
Havana and Cienfuegos. The supposed 
necessity for defending our northern coast left 
Cienfuegos open. Had Cervera made for it, he 
would have reached it before the Flying Squadron 

The Value of the Defensive 89 

did. The need for keeping the Flying Squadron in 
Hampton Roads was imaginary, but it none the less 
illustrates the effect of inadequate coast defenses 
upon the military plan of the nation. 

The author whom I quote (Corbett, "Seven 
Years' War," Vol. I, p. 92), who himself quotes 
from one of the first of authorities, Clausewitz, has 
therefore immediately to qualify his maxim, thus: 

" When we say that defense is a stronger form of 
war, that is,- that it requires a smaller force, if 
soundly designed, we are speaking, of course, only 
of one certain line of operations. If we do not know 
the general line of operation on which the enemy 
intends to attack, and so cannot mass our force upon 
it, then defense is weak, because we are compelled 
to distribute our force so as to be strong enough to 
stop the enemy on any line of operations he may 

Manifestly, however, a force capable of being 
strong enough on several lines of operation to stop 
an enemy possesses a superiority that should take the 
offensive. In the instance just cited, of Cervera's 
approach, the American true policy of concentration 
would have had to yield to distribution, between 
Cienfuegos and Havana. Instead of a decisive 
superiority on one position, there would have been 
a bare equality upon two. Granting an enemy of 
equal skill and training, the result might have been 
one way or the other; and the only compensation 
would have been that the enemy would have been 
so badly handled that, to use Nelson's phrase, he 
would give no more trouble that season, and the 

90 Part I: Naval Principles 

other American division would have controlled the 
seas, is Togo did after August 10, 1904. From 
the purely professional point of view it is greatly 
to be regretted that the Spaniards and Russians 
showed such poor professional aptitude. 

The radical disadvantage of the defensive is 
lent. It not only is the enforced attitude of a 
weaker party, but it labors under the further onerous 
uncertainty where the offensive may strike, when 
there is more than one line of operation open to 
him, as there usually is. This tends to entail dis- 
semination of force. The advantages of the defen- 
sive have been sufficiently indicated; they are essen- 
tially those of deliberate preparation, shown in 
precautions of various kinds. In assuming the de- 
fensive you take for granted the impossibility of 
your own permanent advance and the ability of the 
enemy to present himself before your front in 
superior numbers; unless you can harass him on 
the way and cause loss enough to diminish the in- 
equality. Unless such disparity exists, you should 
be on the offensive. On the other hand, in the 
defensive it has to be taken for granted that you 
have on your side a respectable though inferior 
battle fleet, and a sea frontier possessing a certain 
number of ports which cannot be reduced without 
regular operations, in which the armed shipping can 
be got ready for battle, and to which, as to a base, 
they can retire for refit. Without these two ele- 
ments there can be no serious defense. 


TT is desirable to explain here what was, and is, the 
- particular specific utility of operations directed 
toward the destruction of an enemy's commerce; 
what its bearing upon the issues of war; and how, 
also, it affects the relative interests of antagonists, 
unequally paired in the matter of sea power. With- 
out attempting to determine precisely the relative 
importance of internal and external commerce, 
which varies with each country, and admitting that 
the length of transportation entails a distinct element 
of increased cost upon the articles transported, it is 
nevertheless safe to say that, to nations having free 
access to the sea, the export and import trade is a 
very large factor in national prosperity and comfort. 
At the very least, it increases by so much the 
aggregate of commercial transactions, while the ease 
and copiousness of water carriage go far to com- 
pensate for the increase of distance. Furthermore, 
the public revenue of maritime states is largely de- 
rived from duties on imports. Hence arises, there- 
fore, a large source of wealth, of money; and money 
ready money or substantial credit is proverbi- 
ally the sinews of war, as the War of 1812 was 
amply to demonstrate. Inconvertible assets, as 
business men know, are a very inefficacious form of 

1 "Sea Power in its Relations to the War of 1812," Vol. I, pp. 284- 

Part I: Naval Principles 

wealth in tight times; and war is always a tight time 
for a country, a time in which its positive wealth, in 
the shape of every kind of produce, is of little use, 
unless by freedom of exchange it can be converted 
into cash for governmental expenses. To this sea- 
commerce greatly contributes, and the extreme em- 
barrassment under which the United States as a 
nation labored in 1814 was mainly due to commer- 
cial exclusion from the sea. To attack the commerce 
of the enemy is therefore to cripple him, in the 
measure of success achieved, in the particular factor 
which is vital to the maintenance of war. Moreover, 
in the complicated conditions of mercantile activity 
no one branch can be seriously injured without 
involving others. 

s may be called the financial and political 
effect of " commerce destroying," as the modern 
phrase runs. In military effect, it is strictly an- 
alogous to the impairing of an enemy's communica- 
tions, of the line of supplies connecting an army 
with its base of operations, upon the maintenance of 
which the life of the army depends. Money, credit, 
is the life of war; lessen it, and vigor flags; destroy 
it, and resistance dies. No resource then remains 
except to " make war support war; " that is, to make 
the vanquished pay the bills for the maintenance of 
the army which has crushed him, or which is pro- 
ceeding to crush whatever opposition is left alive 
This, by the extraction of private money, and of 
supplies for the use of his troops, from the country 
in which he was fighting, was the method of Napo- 
leon, than whom no man held more delicate views 

Commerce Destroying and Blockade 93 

concerning the gross impropriety of capturing 
private property at sea, whither his power did not 
extend. Yet this, in effect, is simply another 
method of forcing the enemy to surrender a large 
part of his means, so weakening him, while trans- 
ferring it to the victor for the better propagation of 
hostilities. The exaction of a pecuniary indemnity 
from the worsted party at the conclusion of a war, 
as is frequently done, differs from the seizure of 
property in transit afloat only in method, and as 
peace differs from war. In either case, money or 
money's worth is exacted; but when peace super- 
venes, the method of collection is left to the Govern- 
ment of the country, in pursuance of its powers of 
taxation, to distribute the burden among the people ; 
whereas in war, the primary object being immediate 
injury to the enemy's fighting power, it is not only 
legitimate in principle, but particularly effective, to 
seek the disorganization of his financial system by a 
crushing attack upon one of its important factors, 
because effort thus is concentrated on a readily 
accessible, fundamental element of his general pros- 
perity. That the loss falls directly on individuals, 
or a class, instead of upon the whole community, is 
but an incident of war, just as some men are killed 
and others not. Indirectly, but none the less surely, 
the whole community, and, what is more important, 
the organized government, are crippled; offensive 
powers impaired. 

But while this is the absolute tendency of war 
against commerce, common to all cases, the relative 
value varies greatly with the countries having re- 

94 Part I: Naval Principles 

course to it. It is a species of hostilities easily 
extemporized by a great maritime nation; it there- 
fore favors one whose policy is not to maintain a 
large naval establishment. It opens a field for a sea 
militia force, requiring little antecedent military 
training. Again, it is a logical military reply to 
commercial blockade, which is the most systematic, 
regularized, and extensive form of commerce- 
destruction known to war. Commercial blockade 
is not to be confounded with the military measure 
of confining a body of hostile ships of war to their 
harbor, by stationing before it a competent force. 
It is directed against merchant vessels, and is not 
a military operation in the narrowest sense, in that 
it ilocs not necessarily involve fighting, nor propose 
the capture of the blockaded harbor. It is not 
usually directed against military ports, unless these 
happen to be also centers of commerce. Its object, 
which was the paramount function of the United 
States Navy during the Civil War, dealing probably 
the most decisive blow inflicted upon the Confed- 
eracy, is the destruction of commerce by closing the 
ports of egress and ingress. Incidental to that, all 
ships, neutrals included, attempting to enter or de- 
part, after public notification through customary 
channels, are captured and confiscated as remorse- 
lessly as could be done by the most greedy privateer. 
Thus constituted, the operation receives far wider 
cope than commerce-destruction on the high seas; 
for this is confined to merchantmen of belligerents, 
while commercial blockade, by universal consent, 
subjects to capture neutrals who attempt to infringe 

Commerce Destroying and Blockade 95 

it, because, by attempting to defeat the efforts of one 
belligerent, they make themselves parties to the war. 

In fact, commercial blockade, though most effec- 
tive as a military measure in broad results, is so 
distinctly commerce-destructive in essence, that those 
who censure the one form must logically proceed 
to denounce the other. This, as has been seen, 
Napoleon did; alleging in his Berlin Decree, in 
1806, that war cannot be extended to any private 
property whatever, and that the right of blockade 
is restricted to fortified places, actually invested by 
competent forces. This he had the face to assert, 
at the very moment when he was compelling every 
vanquished state to extract, from the private means 
of its subjects, coin running up to hundreds of 
millions to replenish his military chest for further 
extension of hostilities. Had this dictum been ac- 
cepted international law in 1861, the United States 
could not have closed the ports of the Confederacy, 
the commerce of which would have proceeded un- 
molested; and hostile measures being consequently 
directed against men's persons instead of their trade, 
victory, if accomplished at all, would have cost three 
lives for every two actually lost. 

It is apparent, immediately on statement, that 
against commerce-destruction by blockade, the re- 
course of the weaker maritime belligerent is com- 
merce-destruction by cruisers on the high sea. 
Granting equal efficiency in the use of either meas- 
ure, it is further plain that the latter is intrinsically 
far less efficacious. To cut off access to a city is 
much more certainly accomplished by holding the 

'.'<: Part I: Naval Principles 

gates than by scouring the country in search of 
sons seeking to enter. Still, one can but do \\hat 
one can. In 1861 to 1865, the Southern Confed- 
eracy, unable to shake of! the death grip fastened on 
its throat, attempted counteraction by means of the 
** Alabama," " Sumter," and their less famous con- 
sorts, with what disastrous influence upon the navi- 
gation the shipping of the Union it is needless 
t> insist. But while the shipping of the opposite 
belligerent was in this way not only crippled, but 
indirectly was swept from the seas, the Confederate 
cruisers, not being able to establish a blockade, could 
not prevent neutral vessels from carrying on the 
commerce of the Union. This consequently suffered 
no serious interruption; whereas the produce of the 
South, its inconvertible wealth cotton chiefly 
was practically useless to sustain the financial system 
and credit of the people. So, in 1812 and the two 
years following, the United States flooded the seas 
with privateers, producing an effect upon British 
commerce which, though inconclusive singly, doubt- 
less co-operated powerfully with other motives to 
dispose the enemy to liberal terms of peace. It was 
the reply, and the only possible reply, to the com- 
mercial blockade, the grinding efficacy of which it 
will be a principal object of these pages to depict, 
issue to us has been accurately character! /ol In 
Mr. Henry Adams, in the single word " I \- 
haustion." ' 

Both parties to the War of 1812 being con- 
spicuously maritime in disposition and occupation, 

1 I littocy of die United Statet," Vol. VIII, chap VIM 

Commerce Destroying and Blockade 97 

while separated by three thousand miles of ocean, 
the sea and its navigable approaches became neces- 
sarily the most extensive scene of operations. There 
being between them great inequality of organized 
naval strength and of pecuniary resources, they 
inevitably resorted, according to their respective 
force, to one or the other form of maritime hostili- 
ties against commerce which have been indicated. 
To this procedure combats on the high seas were 
merely incidental. Tradition, professional pride, 
and the combative spirit inherent in both peoples, 
compelled fighting when armed vessels of nearly 
equal strength met; but such contests, though wholly 
laudable from the naval standpoint, which under 
ordinary circumstances cannot afford to encourage 
retreat from an equal foe, were indecisive of general 
results, however meritorious in particular execution. 
They had no effect upon the issue, except so far as 
they inspired moral enthusiasm and confidence. 
StKl more, in the sequel they have had a distinctly 
injurious effect upon national opinion in the United 
States. In the brilliant exhibition of enterprise, 
professional skill, and usual success, by its naval 
officers and seamen, the country has forgotten the 
precedent neglect of several administrations to con- 
stitute the navy as strong in proportion to the means 
of the country as it was excellent through the spirit 
and acquirements of its officers. Sight also has been 
lost of the actual conditions of repression, confine- 
ment, and isolation, enforced upon the maritime 
frontier during the greater part of the war, with the 
misery and mortification thence ensuing. It has been 

Pan I: Naval Principles 

widely inferred that the maritime conditions in gen- 
eral were highly flattering to national pride, ami that 
a future emergency could be confronted with the 
same supposed facility, and as little preparation, 
as the odds of 1812 arc believed to have been en- 
countered and overcome. This mental impression, 
this picture, is false throughout, alike in its group- 
ing of incidents, in its disregard of proportion, ami 
in its ignoring of facts. The truth of this assertion 
will appear in due course of this narrative, and it 
will be seen that, although relieved by many brilliant 
incidents, indicative of the real spirit and capacity 
of the nation, the record upon the whole is one of 
gloom, disaster, and governmental incompetence, 
resulting from lack of national preparation, due to 
the obstinate and blind prepossessions of the 'Gov- 
ernment, and, in part, of the people. 

Command of the Sea Decisive l 

It is not the tajcing of individual ships or convoys, 
be they few or many, that strikes down the money 
power of a nation; it is the possession of that over- 
bearing power on the sea which drives the enemy's 
flag from it, or allows it to appear only as a fugiti\ e ; 
and which, by controlling the great common, closes 
the highways by which commerce moves to and from 
the enemy's shores. This overbearing power can 
only be exercised by great navies, and by them (on 
the broad sea) less efficiently now than in the days 
when the neutral flag had not its present immunity. 2 

1 "The Influence of Sea Power upon History," p. 138. 

1 Thtt immunity of enemy property in neutral ships, guaranteed by 

Commerce Destroying and Blockade 99 

It is not unlikely that, in the event of a war between 
maritime nations, an attempt may be made by the 
one having a great sea power and wishing to break 
down its enemy's commerce, to interpret the phrase 
" effective blockade " in the manner that best suits 
its interests at the time; to assert that the speed and 
disposal of its ships make the blockade effective at 
much greater distances and with fewer ships than 
formerly. The determination of such a question will 
depend, not upon the weaker belligerent, but upon 
neutral powers; it will raise the issue between bel- 
ligerent and neutral rights; and if the belligerent 
have a vastly overpowering navy he may carry his 
point, just as England, when possessing the mastery 
of the seas, long refused to admit the doctrine of 
the neutral flag covering the goods. 

the Declaration of Paris in 1856, has been to a large extent nullified in 
recent practice by extension of the lists of contraband, to say nothing of 
the violations of all law in submarine warfare. EDITOR.] 


TN the special field proposed for our study, there 
* arc two principal points of such convergence or 
divergence: the mouth of the Mississippi River, and 
the Central American Isthmus. At the time when 
these lectures were first written the opinion of the 
world was hesitating between Panama and Nica- 
ragua as the best site for a canal through the Isth- 
mus. This question having now been settled defini- 
tively in favor of Panama, the particular point of 
convergence for trade routes passing through the 
Caribbean for the Pacific will continue at Colon, 
whither it for so long has been determined because 
there is the terminus of the Panama Railroad. 

These two meeting points or cross-roads have 
long been, and still are, points of supreme interest 
to all mankind. At the one all the highways of the 
Mississippi valley, all the tributaries and subtrilm- 
tarics of the great river, meet, and thence they part. 
At the other all highways between the Atlantic and 
ific focus and intersect. The advancing popula- 
tion and development of the Mississippi valley, 
and the completion of the Panama Canal, will work 
together to cause this international interest to grow 
proportionately in the future. Among the great 
Powers of the world, no one is concerned so vitally 

1 "Naval Strateny," pp. 33-3<Mi 356-367, 381-382. 

Strategic Features of Gulf and Caribbean 101 

102 Part I: Naval Principles 

in this progress as is the United States; because of 
her possession of one of these centers, the mouth of 
the Mississippi with its huge back country, and he- 
cause of her geographical nearness to the other. 
This peculiar interest, which is natural and in 
in virtue of proximity, is emphasized by the national 
policy known as the Monroe Doctrine; and still 
more by the particular result of the Doctrine which 
has involved the control, administration, and mili- 
tary protection of that belt of Isthmian territory 
called the Panama Canal Zone. 

[In the intervening pages, it is shown that the 
triangle drawn on the map (p. 101) includes all 
points of strategic importance, these beinjj indicated 
by black squares. Cuba is the key to the Gulf of 
Mexico, and also controls three entrances to the 
Caribbean the Yucatan, Windward, and Mona 
Passages. The entrances, the chief points of des- 
tination (Jamaica and the Isthmus), and the routes 
thither, constitute the main objects of military con- 
trol in the Caribbean. EDITOR.] 

. Taking all together, control over transit 
depending upon situation only, other conditions 
being equal, is greatest with Jamaica, next with 
Cuba, least with the Lesser Antilles. 

Accepting these conclusions as to control over 
transit, we now revert to that question to which all 
other inquiries are subsidiary, namely, Which of 
the three bases of operations in the Caribbean - 
one of the Lesser Antilles, Jamaica, or Cuba with 
its sphere of influence is most powerful for mili- 
tary control of the principal objective points in the 

Strategic Features of Gulf and Caribbean 103 

same sea? These principal objectives are Jamaica 
and the Isthmus ; concerning the relative importance 
of which it may be remarked that, while the Isthmus 
intrinsically, and to the general interest of the world, 
is incomparably the more valuable, the situation of 
Jamaica gives such command over all the approaches 
to the Isthmus, as to make it in a military sense the 
predominant factor in the control of the Caribbean. 
Jamaica is a pre-eminent instance of central posi- 
tion, conferring the advantage of interior lines, for 
action in every direction within the field to which it 

Military control depends chiefly upon two things, 
position and active military strength. As equal 
military strength has been assumed throughout, it 
is now necessary only to compare the positions held 
by other states in the field with that of the occupant 
of Cuba. This inquiry also is limited to the ability 
either to act offensively against these objective 
points, or, on the contrary, to defend them if already 
held by oneself or an ally; transit having been con- 
sidered already. 

Control by virtue of position, over a point ex- 
ternal to your territory, depends upon nearness in 
point of time and upon the absence of obstacles 
capable of delaying or preventing your access to it. 

Both Santiago (or Guantanamo) and Cienfuegos 
are nearer to the Isthmus than is any other one of 
the first-class strategic points that have been chosen 
on the borders of the Caribbean Sea, including 
Samana Bay and St. Thomas. They are little more 
than half the distance of the British Santa Lucia 

Part I: Naval Principles 

and the French Martinique. The formidable island 
and military stronghold of Jamaica, within the sea, 
is nearer the Isthmus than Guantanamo is, by one 
hundred and fifty miles, and than Cienfuegos by 
yet more. 

Taking into consideration situation only, Jamaica 
is admirably placed for the control of the Caribbean. 
It is equidistant from Colon, from the Yucatan 
Passage, and from the Mona Passage. It shares 
with Guantanamo and Santiago control of the Wind- 
ward Passage, and of that along the south coast of 
Cuba; while, with but a slight stretching out of its 
arm, it reaches the routes from the Gulf of Mexico 
to the Isthmus. Above all, as towards Cuba, it so 
blocks the road to the Isthmus that any attempt 
directed upon the Isthmus from Cuba must first 
have to account with the military and naval forces 
of Jamaica. 

There arc, however, certain deductions to be 
made from the strength of Jamaica that do not 
apply as forcibly to Cuba. Leaving to one side the 
great and widely scattered colonial system of Great 
Britain, which always throws that empire on the 
defensive and invites division of the fleet, owing to 
large number of points open to attack, and con- 
fining our attention strictly to the field before us, it 
will be observed that in a scheme of British opera- 
tions Jamaica is essentially, as has been said before, 
an advanced post; singularly well situated, it is true, 
but still with long and difficult communications. Its 
distance from Antigua, a possible intermediate base 
of supplies, is over nine hundred miles; from Santa 

Strategic Features of Gulf and Caribbean 105 

Lucia, the chief British naval station in the Lesser 
Antilles, over one thousand miles, not less than three 
days' economical steaming. Great Britain, if at war 
with a state possessing Cuba, is shut out from the 
Windward Passage by Guantanamo,. and from the 
Gulf of Mexico by Havana. The Mona Passage, 
also, though not necessarily closed, will be too 
dangerous to be relied upon. For these reasons, in 
order to maintain communications with Jamaica, an 
intermediate position and depot, like Santa Lucia, 
will be urgently needed. Supplies coming from 
Bermuda, Halifax, or England would probably have 
to be collected first there, or at Antigua, and thence 
make a more secure, but still exposed, voyage to 
Kingston. The north coasts of Cuba and Haiti must 
be looked upon as practically under the control of 
the Cuban fleet, in consequence of the command 
which it exercises over the Windward Passage, by 
virtue of position. 

The possessor of Cuba, on the contrary, by his 
situation has open communication with the Gulf of 
Mexico, which amounts to saying that he has all the 
resources of the United States at his disposal, 
through the Mississippi Valley. Cruisers from 
Jamaica attempting to intercept that trade would be 
at a great disadvantage, especially as to coal, com- 
pared with their enemy resting upon Havana. 
Cruisers from Havana, reaching their cruising 
ground with little or no consumption, can therefore 
remain longer, and consequently are equivalent to 
a greater number of ships. On the other hand, 
cruisers from Santiago could move almost with im- 

106 Part I: Naval 

punity by the north side of Haiti as far as the Mona 
Passage, and beyond that without any other risk 
than that of meeting and fighting vessels of equal 
size. If they stretch their efforts toward the Anegada 
Mi^c, they would feel the same disadvantage, 
relatively to cruisers from Santa Lucia, that Jamaica 
cruisers in the Gulf would undergo as compared with 
those from Havana; but by inclining their course 
more to the northward, to or about the point Q (see 
map, page I o i ) , they would there be equidistant from 
Guantanamo and Santa Lucia, and so on an equality 
with the latter, while at the same time in a position 
gravely to endanger supplies from any point in 
North America. If it be replied that Bermuda can 
take care of these cruisers at Q, the answer is plain : 
on the supposition of equal forces, it can do so only 
by diminishing the force at Santa Lucia. In short, 
when compared with Jamaica, in repect of strategic 
relations to Bermuda, Halifax, and Santa Lucia, 
Cuba enjoys the immense advantage of a central posi- 
tion, and of interior lines of communication, with 
consequent concentration of force and effort. 

It is not easy to see how, in the face of these 
difficulties, Great Britain, in the supposed case <>i 
equal force in this theater of war, could avoid divid- 
ing her fleet sufficiently to put Jamaica at a disad- 
vantage as to Cuba. In truth, Cuba here enjoys 
not only the other advantages of situation already 
pointed out, but also that of being central as re- 
gards the enemy's positions; and what is, perhaps, 
even more important, she possesses secure interior 

Strategic Features of Gulf and Caribbean 107 

land lines of supply and coal between the points of 
her base, while covering the sea lines in her rear, 
in the Gulf of Mexico. For Guantanamo and 
Santiago have communication by rail with Havana, 
while the island itself covers the lines from Havana 
to the Gulf coast of the United States; whereas 
Jamaica depends wholly upon the sea, by lines of 
communication not nearly as well sheltered. 

Contrasted with Cuba, Jamaica is seen to be, as 
has been more than once said, a strong advanced 
post, thrust well forward into the face of an enemy 
to which it is much inferior in size and resources, 
and therefore dependent for existence upon its 
power of holding out, despite uncertain and possibly 
suspended communication. Its case resembles that 
of Minorca, Malta, Gibraltar, the endurance of 
which, when cut off from the sea, has always been 
measurable. The question here before us, however, 
is not that of mere holding out on the defensive, 
which would be paralysis. If Cuba can reduce 
Jamaica to a passive defensive, Jamaica disappears 
as a factor in the control of the Caribbean and 
Isthmus no obstacle then stands in the way of 
Cuba using her nearness to Panama. If Cuba can 
bring about a scarcity of coal at Kingston she 
achieves a strategic advantage; if a coal famine, the 
enemy's battle fleet must retire, probably to the 
Lesser Antilles. 

The case of Jamaica, contrasted with Cuba, 
covers that of all strategic points on the borders of 
the Caribbean Sea, east, west, north, or south. Al- 
most on the border itself, although within it, Jamaica 

ins Part I: Naval /V;m//>/<rj 

has in nearness, in situation, in size, and in resources, 
a decisive advantage over any of the ports of Haiti 
or of the smaller islands. If Jamaica is inferior to 
Cuba, then is each of the other points on the cir- 
cumference, and, it may be added, all of them 
together. . . . 

[ It is shown that, while Santa Lucia is essential 
to Jamaica, the two are too far apart to work to- 
gether in concert. As for the Lesser Antilles, they 
may be said to control the approaches from Europe, 
while Cuba controls those from North America; but 
the Antilles are twice as far from the Isthmus as 
Cuba is, and much weaker in resources. EDITOR.] 

As to resources, those of all the West India 
islands for war will depend mainly upon the policy 
and preparation of the governments. Except Cuba, 
they arc deficient in natural resources adequately 
developed. Outside of direct governmental action 
it can only be said that the much greater population 
of Cuba will draw more supplies and furnish more 
material for troops and garrisons. At present, as 
already noted, the resources of the United States 
arc in effect also the resources of Cuba. 

As between the three possible bases for attempted 
control of the Caribbean, no doubts can remain 
that Cuba is the most powerful, Jamaica next, and 
the Antilles least. Jamaica being where it is, Cuba 
cannot put forth her power against the Isthmus or 
against the lines of transit in the Caribbean, until 
the has materially reduced, if not neutralized, the 
offensive power of her smaller opponent. Upon the 
upposition of equal fleets, if the Cuban fleet move 

Strategic Features of Gulf and Caribbean 109 

against the Isthmus, or into the Caribbean, it un- 
covers its communications; if it seeks to cover 
these, it divides its force. Jamaica exactly meets 
the case supposed in a previous chapter: "If, in 
moving upon the coveted objective you pass by a 
strategic point held by the enemy, capable of shelter- 
ing his ships a point from which he may probably 
intercept your supplies of coal or ammunition, the 
circle of influence of that point will require your 
attention and reduce your force." 

In that case it was laid down that, if you cannot 
observe the port without reducing your fleet below 
that of the enemy, you must not divide it; either the 
intermediate point must be taken, or, if you think 
you can accomplish your special aim with the sup- 
plies on board, you may cut loose from your base, 
giving up your communications. Undoubtedly, the 
same difficulty would be felt by the Jamaica fleet, 
if it moved away from home leaving the Cuban fleet 
in port in Santiago or Guantanamo ; but, of the two, 
Jamaica has the inside track. It is not so with 
operations based upon the Lesser Antilles only, and 
directed against the Isthmus, or against any position 
in the western basin of the Caribbean, Cuba being 
hostile; the line of communication in that case is so 
long as to be a very serious comparative disad- 

Upon the whole, then, Jamaica, though less 
powerful than Cuba, seems to deserve the title of 
the " key to the Caribbean." Only when Cuba has 
mastered it can she predominantly control the posi- 
tions of that sea. But if Jamaica in this sense be the 

110 Pan I: Naval Principles 

key, Cuba has the grip that can wrest it away. 
Secure as to her own communications, in the rear, 
towards the Gulf of Mexico, Cuba has it in her 
power to impose upon her enemy a line so long and 
insecure as to be finally untenable. First a scarcity 
of coal, then a famine, lastly the retreat of the 
Jamaica fleet to the most available coal station. 
Such is the solution I believe possible to the military 
problem of the Caribbean as dependent upon geo- 
graphical conditions, that is, upon positions ; con- 
cerning which Napoleon has said that " War is a 
business of positions.'* The instant the Cuban fleet 
has gained a decided superiority over that of Ja- 
maica, it can take a position covering at once the ap- 
proaches to that island and the Windward Channel, 
keeping all its own ships in hand while cutting of! 
the enemy's supplies and reinforcements. The con- 
verse is not true of the Jamaica fleet, in case it gains 
a momentary superiority, because the southern ports 
of Cuba should be able to receive supplies by land, 
from the Gulf of Mexico through Havana. 

The general discussion of the strategic features 
of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean ends here; 
but the treatment of the subject will not be complete, 
unless there be some further specific consideration 
of the bearing which the conclusions reached have 
upon the facilities of the United States for naval 
action in the region studied. 

[The political developments between 1887 and 
1911 are here considered, including the growth of 
the American Navy; the construction of the Panama 
Canal; the acquisition by the United States of 

Strategic Features of Gulf and Caribbean 111 

strategic points along the line from Key West to 
Culebra Island, centering at Guantanamo and u most 
effectual for military and naval action in the Carib- 
bean;" and, finally, our increased responsibilities 
arising from the growth of the German Navy and 
the consequent limitation of England's co-operation 
in support of the Monroe Doctrine. EDITOR.] 

... The Caribbean Sea and the Isthmus of 
Panama furnish the student of naval strategy with 
a very marked illustration of the necessity of such 
cohesion and mutual support between military posi- 
tions assumed; as well as between those positions 
and the army in the field, that is, the navy. It 
affords therefore a subject of the first importance 
for such a student to master, and that in fuller detail 
than is expedient for a series of lectures, the object 
of which should be to suggest lines of thought, 
rather than to attempt exhaustive treatment. For 
an American naval officer, the intimate relation of 
the Isthmus and its coming canal to the mutual sup- 
port of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts renders the 
subject doubly interesting. This interest is yet far- 
ther increased by the consideration that the general 
international importance to commerce of such a 
point as the Canal can scarcely fail to make the con- 
ditions of its tenure and use a source of international 
difference and negotiation, which often are war 
under another form; that is, the solution depends 
upon military power, even though held in the back- 
ground. There are questions other than commercial 
dependent upon the tenure of the Isthmus, of which 
I will not here speak explicitly. To appreciate them 

112 Part I: Naval Principles 

fully there must be constant reading and reflection 
upon the general topics of the day. 

One thing is sure: in the Caribbean Sea is the 
strategic key to the two great oceans, the Atlantic 
and Pacific, our own chief maritime frontiers. 

Opposing Elements * 

A DMINISTRATION being a term of very gen- 
^* eral application, it will be expected that that of 
the navy should present close analogies, and even 
points of identity, with other forms of administra- 
tion; for instance, that in it, as elsewhere, efficiency of 
result will be better secured by individual responsi- 
bility than by collective responsibility. But, along 
with general resemblance, naval administration is 
very clearly and sharply differentiated by the presence 
of an element which is foreign to almost all other 
activities of life in countries like Great Britain and 
the United States. The military factor is to it not 
merely incidental, but fundamental; whatever other 
result may be achieved, naval administration has 
failed unless it provides to the nation an efficient 
fighting body, directed by well-trained men, animated 
by a strong military spirit. On the other hand, 
many of the operations connected with it differ from 
those common to civil life only in a certain par- 
ticularity of method. This is true in principal 
measure of the financial management, of the medical 
establishment, and to a considerable though much 
smaller degree of the manufacturing processes con- 
nected with the production of naval material. The 
business routine of even the most military depart- 

1 "Naval Administration and Warfare" (1903), pp. 5-11. 

114 Part I: Naval Principles 

ment of a naval administration is in itself more akin 
to civil than to military life: but it by no means 
follows that those departments would be better 
administered under men of civil habits of thought 
than by those of military training. The method 
exists for the result, and an efficient fighting body 
is not to be attained by weakening the appreciation 
of military necessities at the very fountain head of 
their supply in the administration. This necessary 
appreciation can be the result only of personal ex- 
perience of good and bad through the formative 
period of life. 

We find, therefore, at the very outset of our 
inquiry two fundamental yet opposing elements, 
neither of which can be eliminated. Nor can they 
be reconciled, in the sense of becoming sympathetic. 
In its proper manifestation the jealousy between the 
civil and military spirits is a healthy symptom. They 
can be made to work together harmoniously and 
efficiently; to complement, not to antagonize each 
other; provided means are taken to ensure to each 
its due relative precedence and weight in the deter- 
mination of practical questions. 

Historically, the institution and development of 
naval administration has been essentially a civil 
process, the object of which has been to provide ami 
keep in readiness a national weapon for war. The 
end is war fighting; the instrument is the navy; 
the means are the various activities which we group 
under the head of administration. Of these three, 
the end necessarily conditions the others. Tlu 
proverb is familiar, " He who wills the end wills 

Principles of Naval Administration 115 

the means." Whatever is essential to the spirit and 
organization of the navy afloat, to its efficiency for 
war, must find itself adequately represented in the 
administration, in order that the exigencies of fight- 
ing may be kept well to the front in governmental 
and national consideration. Since armies and navies 
have existed as permanent national institutions, there 
has been a constant struggle on the part of the mili- 
tary element to keep the end fighting, or readi- 
ness to fight superior to mere administrative con- 
siderations. This is but natural, for all men tend to 
magnify their office. The military man having to 
do the fighting, considers that the chief necessity; the 
administrator equally naturally tends to think the 
smooth running of the machine the most admirable 
quality. Both are necessary; but the latter cannot 
obtain under the high pressure of war unless in peace 
the contingency of war has dictated its system. 
There is a quaint, well-worn story, which yet may 
be new to some readers, of an administrator who 
complained that his office was working admirably 
until war came and threw everything out of gear. 

The opposition between civil and military, neces- 
sitating their due adjustment, may be said to be 
original, of the nature of things. It is born with 
naval administration. Corresponding roughly to 
these primary factors are the two principal activities 
in which administration is exerted organization 
and execution. These also bear to each other the 
relation of means to end. Organization is not for 
itself, but is a means to an ultimate executive action; 
in the case of a navy, to war or to the prevention of 

116 Pan I: Naval Principles 

war. It is, therefore, in its end war that or- 
ganization must find the conditions dictating its 
character. Whatever the system adopted, it must 
aim above all at perfect efficiency in military action; 
and the nearer it approaches to this ideal the better 
it is. It would seem that this is too obvious for 
mention. It may be for mention ; but not for reitera- 
tion. The long record of naval history on the side 
of administration shows a constant predominance 
of other considerations, and the abiding necessity 
for insisting, in season and out of season, that the 
one test of naval administration is not the satisfac- 
tory or economical working of the office, as such, 
but the readiness of the navy in all points for war. 
The one does not exclude the other; but there is 
between them the relation of greater and less. 

Both organization and execution are properties 
alike of the active navy, the instrument for war, 
and of the naval administration, the means which 
has been constituted to create and maintain the 
instrument; but from their respective spheres, and 
in proportion to their relative nearness to the great 
final end of war, the one or the other characteristic 
is found predominant. The naval officer on board 
his ship, face to face with the difficulties of the pro- 
fession, and in daily contact with the grim imple- 
ments which remind him of the eventualities of his 
calling, naturally sees in organization mainly a 
means to an end. Some indeed fall short. The 
martinet is a man to whom the organization is more 
than a means; but he is the exception. Naval ad- 
ministration, on the other hand, in the common 

Principles of Naval Administration 117 

acceptation of the term, is mostly office work. It 
comes into contact with the navy proper chiefly 
through official correspondence, less by personal 
intercourse with the officers concerned; still less by 
immediate contact with the daily life of the profes- 
sion, which it learns at second hand. It consequently 
tends to overvalue the orderly routine and obser- 
vance of the system by which it receives information, 
transmits orders, checks expenditure, files returns, 
and, in general, keeps with the service the touch of 
paper; in short, the organization which has been 
created for facilitating its own labors. In due 
measure these are imperatively necessary; but it is 
undeniable that the practical tendency is to exag- 
gerate their importance relatively to the executive 
end proposed. The writer was once visiting a 
French captain, who in the course of the interview 
took up wearily a mass of papers from a desk beside 
him. " I wonder," said he, " whether all this is as 
bad with you as with us. Look at our Navy 
Register;" and dividing the pages into two parts, 
severally about one-sixth and five-sixths of the whole, 
he continued, "This, the smaller, is the Navy; and 
that is the Administration." No wonder he had 
papers galore; administration needs papers, as a 
mill needs gnst. 

Even in the case of naval officers entering ad- 
ministrative offices, the influence of prolonged tenure 
is in the same direction. The habits of a previous 
lifetime doubtless act as a check, in proportion to 
the strength they have acquired in the individual. 
They serve as an invaluable leaven, not only to his 

118 Part I: Naval Principles 

\ thought but to that of his associates. Never- 
theless, the experience is general that permanence 
in an office essentially civil tends to deaden the in- 
timate appreciation of naval exigencies ; yet upon this 
alone can thrive that sympathy between the ad- 
ministrative and executive functions of the navy 
which is requisite to efficiency. The habit of the 
arm-chair easily prevails over that of the quarter- 
deck; it is more comfortable. For this reason, in 
the best-considered systems, a frequent exchange 
between the civil and military parts of their pro- 
fession, between the administrative offices and the 
army or fleet, is thought expedient for officers who 
show aptitude for the former. It is better for them 
personally, better for the administration, and con- 
sequently better for the service at large. It prevails 
extensively in the United States Navy, where it is 
frequently the subject of ill-instructed outside criti- 
cism on the score of sea-officers being on " shore 
duty." Without asserting that the exact proportions 
of service are always accurately observed, it may be 
confidently affirmed that the interchange between the 
civil and military occupations tends to facilitate the 
smooth working of both, by promoting mutual 
understanding of conditions and difficulties. 

The British System l 

\ from 1660 to 1832, British naval administration 
was divided between a civilian " Navy Board " and 
a military " Board of Admiralty." EDITOR.] 

"N.Yd Administration and Warfare" (1903), pp. 26-31. 

Principles of Naval Administration 119 

Divided control means divided responsibility; and 
that in turn means no responsibility, or at least one 
very hard to fix. The abuses that grew up, especially 
in the dockyards, the effect of which of course was 
transmitted to the navy that depended upon them, 
led to a loud outcry throughout the service towards 
the end of the eighteenth century; but horses are not 
swapped when crossing streams, and the exigencies 
of the great wars which ended in 1815 made it long 
impossible to attempt the revolutionary change 
needed. This was carried out in 1832 by the Gov- 
ernment which came in with the Reform Bill of 
1830. The spirit of the innovation was summarized 
in the expression, " Individual (undivided) Re- 
sponsibility." The Navy Board disappeared al- 
together. The civil functions which in the process 
of centuries had accumulated in its hands, and had 
culminated by successive additions into a very nu- 
merous and loose aggregation of officials, were 
concentrated into five heads, having separate and 
independent responsibilities; in this resembling the 
chiefs of bureau in the United States Naval Ad- 
ministration. Each of the five was specifically under 
one of the members of the Admiralty Board, who 
thus represented that particular interest of the Navy 
in the Board regarded as a consultative body. 
Admiral Sir Vesey Hamilton writes : " This was a 
consolidation of functions and a subordination of 
the civil branches to the Admiralty as a whole . . . 
under the Board of Admiralty collectively and under 
the Lords individually." While the First Lord is 
a civilian, the majority of the other members of the 

/ /: Naval Prim-iplcs 

Admiralty arc naval officers. Authority, therefore, 
is in civil hands, while military influence enters 

While I highly appreciate the value of this latter 
factor, particularly as the sea lords do not conse- 
quently give up their profession, but remain actively 
connected with it, it appears to my observation of 
human nature that the system has some of the dis- 
advantages of a council of war, tending to make 
responsibility elusive. I question, in short, the entire 
soundness of a scheme which by its nature, if not by 
specific provision, inclines to place executive action 
in the hands of a consultative body. It seems to sap 
individual responsibility; not perhaps in subordi- 
nates, but, what is much worse, in the head, in the 
Commander-in-chief of the administration, upon 
whom depend the great determinative lines of pro- 
vision and of policy. In conception, the Admiralty 
is primarily a Board, secondarily individual mem- 
bers. For individual responsibility at the head, too 
much depends upon the personality of the First 
Lord, too little upon his position. Since these lines 
were first written, five years ago, it may fairly be 
inferred, from the language of the English Press, 
that very decisive changes of policy have been 
adopted which are attributed popularly, and even 
professionally, to the dominating influence of one of 
the " Sea " Lords. During a brief period in 1827, 
as two centuries before, an arrangement more for- 
mally ideal obtained. The Duke of Clarence, after- 
wards William IV, being appointed Lord High 
Admiral, the Admiralty Board lapsed as a board 

Principles of Naval Administration 121 

and became his council. The modification here 
made in deference to royal blood might well serve 
as a model for naval administration; a head with 
advisers feels responsibility more than a head with 
associates. It should go without saying that in any 
case the head must be good. 

In the United States Naval Administration the 
head is one man, with no division of responsibility. 
His own superior, the President, may control his 
action, as may Congress by law; but this, as far as 
it goes, is simply a transfer of responsibility in its 
entirety. It is not a division. The Secretary of the 
Navy has no associates, but he has subordinates. 
In them he has capable advisers, so far as he chooses 
to use them; but he can transfer to them no responsi- 
bility, except that of doing as he tells them. The 
responsibility of decision is his alone. The law con- 
stitutes them subordinate executive officers, just as 
it constitutes a lieutenant in the navy; but it does not 
constitute them advisers, and there is in their posi- 
tion nothing which compels the Secretary to hear 
their advice, still less to accept it. Each is inde- 
pendent of the others, and there is nothing in law 
to compel conference between them. The Secretary 
may assemble them, or any number of them, as a 
board for consultation, in his presence or otherwise ; 
but there is nothing in the system which obliges him 
to do so. Unity of action between several naval 
technical experts, each of whom is represented in 
the planning and maintenance of every naval vessel, 
and some in every element of naval military effi- 
ciency, depends entirely upon the co-ordinating force 

Pan I: Naval Principles 

of the Secretary, who is a civilian, possibly with only 
more or less outside knowledge of the subject. The 
system provides no strictly professional unifying 
force, such as the Board of Admiralty, which has 
a numerical preponderance of combatant sea-officers, 
each of whom has in individual control one or more 
of the technical administrative departments, and 
may be supposed therefore to be fully informed of 
its arguments in any technical matter under discus- 
sion. The constitution of the Admiralty Board also 
ensures that all technical details and their effect upon 
naval efficiency shall be scrutinized from the point of 
view of the men who shall do the work of war. The 
American plan fixes the very strictest individual 
responsibility in the Secretary, and in his principal 
subordinates, the chiefs of bureau. His duties are 
universal and supreme, theirs sharply defined and 
mutually independent. This result appears to me 
superior to the British, but it has the defects of its 
qualities; not too much independence in responsi- 
bility, but, so far as the system goes, too little co- 
ordination. As I said of the responsibility of the 
^t Lord, unity of action depends too much on the 
personality of the Secretary. 

The United States System * 

The United States system of naval administration 
has progressed successively, and without breach of 
legislative continuity, from the simple rudimentary 
organ, the one man, in whom all functions as well 

"Naval Administration and Warfare" (1903), pp. 46-48. 

Principles of Naval Administration 123 

as all responsibility were centered, through the phase 
of a complex organ with aggregate functions and 
responsibilities, defined, but still undifferentiated, 
into an organization elaborate in form, if not final 
in development. The process has been from first 
to last consistent in principle. The sole control and 
single responsibility of the Secretary the rep- 
resentative of the President have been preserved 
throughout, and all other responsibility is, and has 
been, not only subordinate to him but derivative 
from him, as a branch derives its being from the 
root. Moreover, consistency has also been main- 
tained in restricting the administration thus evolved 
to the civil function which it essentially is. From the 
first departure, in the institution of the Board of 
Commissioners, to the present time, it has not had 
military authority properly so called. It has had 
necessary authority in matters pertaining to a mili- 
tary establishment, but it has had no direction of 
activities in themselves essentially military; that has 
remained with the Secretary, and is by him trans- 
ferred only to officers properly military in function. 
Finally, the principle of particular responsibility 
has been strictly followed. Within the limits of the 
duty assigned, the corporate responsibility of the 
Board in its day was, and the individual responsi- 
bility of each bureau chief now is, as certain and 
defined as that of the Secretary. 

The defect of the system is that no means is pro- 
vided for co-ordinating the action of the bureaus, 1 

1 These bureaus are seven in number: Yards and Docks, Naviga- 
tion, Ordnance, Construction and Repairs, Steam Engineering, Sup- 

1J4 Part I: Naval Principles 

except the single authority of the Secretary. This, 
in his beginning days of inexperience, together with 
his preoccupations with the numerous collateral en- 
gagements attendant upon all positions of public 
responsibility, will most usually be inadequate to the 
task. To indicate a defect is not to prescribe a 
remedy; and the purpose of this article is to show 
things as they are, not to advocate particular 
changes. One of the ablest administrative sea- 
officers, both afloat and ashore, that I have known in 
my professional career, stated before a Congres- 
sional committee that he had " always believed it 
would be wise to have a board of five officers for the 
purpose of harmonizing difficulties between bureaus, 
settling upon a ship-building policy, and other mat- 
ters that embarrass the head of the Department on 
account of a lack of professional knowledge." I do 
not undertake to pass an opinion upon this particular 
suggestion, but confine myself to remarking that the 
fault in the system certainly exists, and that any 
remedy requires the careful observance of two 
points : i , that the adviser, one or a board, be wholly 
clear of administrative activity; and, 2, that he or 
they be advisers only, pure and simple, with no 
power to affect the individual responsibility of 
decision. This must be preserved under whatever 
method, as the Secretary's privilege as well as his 

pK tod Account*, and Medicine and Surgery. The Chief of Naval 
Qptfauuut, whoie office was created in 191?, stands second to the Sec- 
mary and acts as his expert professional adviser, with the specific task 
amg the work of the navy, preparing plans, and directing 
operations in war. Me is, ex officio, a member of the General Kn.m! of 
{Navy, created in 1900, which serves ai an expert advisory body. 


TT may be asserted, as perhaps the most tenable 
general definition of the principle upon which the 
rule of obedience rests, that the spirit of obedience, 
as distinguished from its letter, consists in faithfully 
forwarding the general object to which the officer's 
particular command is contributing. This finds ex- 
pression in the well-known directive maxim, " March 
to the sound of the guns." In doubtful cases, how- 
ever, and by doubtful I mean cases where action 
other than that prescribed in the orders seems ex- 
pedient, liberty of judgment is conditioned by the 
officer's acquaintance with the plans of his superior. 
If his knowledge is imperfect, or altogether lacking, 
the doing that which at the moment seems wise to 
himself may be to defeat a much more important 
object, or to dissolve the bonds of a combined 
movement to which his co-operation is essential. If, 
under such circumstances of ignorance, resting only 
upon his own sagacity or surmises, he errs either in 
his reading of his commander's general purpose, or 
in his decision as to his own action, and through 
such error disobeys, he cannot complain if he receive 
censure or punishment. He has violated a recog- 
nized rule without adequate reason. The rectitude 
of his intentions may clear him of moral blame, 
though not necessarily even so ; for the duty of obedi- 
ence is not merely military, but moral. It is not an 
arbitrary rule, but one essential and fundamental; 

1 "Retrospect and Prospect," pp. 258-259, 270-272. 

Part I: Naval Principles 

the expression of a principle without which military 
organization would go to pieces, and military success 
be impossible. Consequently, even where the in- 
dividual purpose may be dcmonstrably honest, not 
willful, blame adheres and punishment may follow, 
according to the measure of the delinquency, though 
that be due to nothing worse than personal in- 
competcncy. . . . 

No man wrestled with the question more vigor- 
ously than Nelson; none found greater exasperation 
than he did in the too often successful opposition of 
the letter to the demands of his impetuous spirit 
for co-operation, addressed to men over whom he 
had not immediate control ; none was more generous 
in his attitude to subordinates who overrode or 
overpassed his own orders, provided he saw in their 
acts the intelligent and honest will to forward his 
purposes. Obedience he certainly required; but he 
recognized that, given a capable and zealous man, 
better work would usually be had by permitting a 
certain elasticity of initiative, provided it was ac- 
companied by accurate knowledge of his general 
wishes. These he was always most careful to im- 
part; in nothing was he more precise or particular. 
If he allowed large liberty in the letter, he expected 
close observance of, nay, rather, participation in, 
the spirit of his ideas. He was not tolerant of in- 
capacity, nor would he for a moment bear willful 
disregard of his plans. When considerations of high 
policy entertained by himself were crossed by Sidney 
Smith, his language became peremptory. " As this 
is in strict opposition to my opinion t which is never 

The Military Rule of Obedience 127 

to suffer any one individual Frenchman to quit 
Egypt, I strictly charge and command you never to 
give any French ship or man leave to quit Egypt." 
The italics are his own; and he adds again, as though 
distrustful still : " You are to put my orders in 
force, not on any pretense to permit a single French- 
man to leave Egypt." The severity of the tone 
sufficiently proves his disposition to enforce the 
strictest rule, where necessary to control individuals ; 
but a more liberal reliance upon principle, in pref- 
erence to rule, was his habit. None, it may be 
added, illustrated more copiously than he, when a 
junior, the obedience of the spirit and the disobedi- 
ence of the letter. His practice was in this con- 
sistent in all stages of his career. Unfortunately, 
the example may tempt smaller men to follow where 
their heads are not steady enough to keep their feet. 
Of course, thinking and feeling thus, he gave 
frequent expression to his views, and these, coming 
from a man of his military genius, are often very 
illuminative. There is one such that is singularly 
applicable to our present purpose, of searching for 
the underlying principle which governs the duty and 
observance of obedience, and determines its absolute 
necessity to all military action. " I find few think 
as I do, but to obey orders is all perfection. What 
would my superiors direct, did they know what is 
passing under my nose? To serve my King and to 
destroy the French I consider as the great order of 
all, from which little ones spring, and if one of these 
little ones militate against it, I go back to obey the 
great order." 


PREPARATION for war, rightly understood, 
falls under two heads, preparation and pre- 
paredness. The one is a question mainly of material, 
and is constant in its action. The second involves an 
idea of completeness. When, at a particular moment, 
preparations are completed, one is prepared not 
otherwise. There may have been made a great 
deal of very necessary preparation for war without 
being prepared. Every constituent of preparation 
may be behindhand, or some elements may be per- 
fectly ready, while others are not. In neither case 
can a state be said to be prepared. 

In the matter of preparation for war, one clear 
idea should be absorbed first by every one who, 
recognizing that war is still a possibility, desires to 
cc his country ready. This idea is that, however 
defensive in origin or in political character a war 
may be, the assumption of a simple defensive in war 
is ruin. War, once declared, must be waged offen- 
sively, aggressively. The enemy must not be fended 
off, but smitten down. You may then spare him 
every exaction, relinquish every gain; but till down 
he must be struck incessantly and remorselessly. 

;>aration, like most other things, is a question 
both of kind and of degree, of quality and of 
quantity. As regards degree, the general lines upon 

1 "The Interest of America in Sea Power" (1896), pp. 192-200. 

Preparedness for Naval War 129 

which it is determined have been indicated broadly 
in the preceding part of this article. The measure 
of degree is the estimated force which the strongest 
probable enemy can bring against you, allowance 
being made for clear drawbacks upon his total force, 
imposed by his own embarrassments and responsi- 
bilities in other parts of the world. The calculation 
is partly military, partly political, the latter, how- 
ever, being the dominant factor in the premises. 

In kind, preparation is twofold, defensive and 
offensive. The former exists chiefly for the sake 
of the latter, in order that offense, the determining 
factor in war, may put forth its full power, un- 
hampered by concern for the protection of the 
national interests or for its own resources. In naval 
war, coast defense is the defensive factor, the navy 
the offensive. Coast defense, when adequate, assures 
the naval commander-in-chief that his base of opera- 
tions the dock-yards and coal depots is secure. 
It also relieves him and his government, by the pro- 
tection afforded to the chief commercial centers, 
from the necessity of considering them, and so leaves 
the offensive arm perfectly free. 

Coast defense implies coast attack. To what 
attacks are coast liable? Two, principally, block- 
ade and bombardment. The latter, being the more 
difficult, includes the former, as the greater does the 
lesser. A fleet that can bombard can still more 
easily blockade. Against bombardment the neces- 
sary precaution is gun-fire, of such power and range 
that a fleet cannot lie within bombarding distance. 
This condition is obtained, where surroundings per- Part I: Naval Principles 

mit, by advancing the line of guns so far from the 
city involved that bombarding distance can be 
reached only by coming under their fire. But it has 
been demonstrated, and is accepted, that, owing to 
their rapidity of movement, like a flock of birds 
on the wing, a fleet of ships can, without dis- 
abling loss, pass by guns before which they could 
not lie. Hence arises the necessity of arresting or 
delaying their progress by blocking channels, which 
in modern practice is done by lines of torpedoes. 
The mere moral effect of the latter is a deterrent 
to a dash past, by which, if successful, a fleet 
reaches the rear of the defenses, and appears im- 
mediately before the city, which then lies at its mercy. 

Coast defense, then, implies gun-power and tor- 
pedo lines placed as described. Be it said in passing 
that only places of decisive importance, commer- 
cially or militarily, need such defenses. Modern 
fleets cannot afford to waste ammunition in bombard- 
ing unimportant towns, at least when so far from 
their own base as they would be on our coast. It is 
not so much a question of money as of frittering 
their fighting strength. It would not pay. 

Even coast defense, however, although essentially 
passive, should have an element of offensive force, 
local in character, distinct from the offensive navy, 
of which nevertheless it forms a part. To take the 
offensive against a floating force it must itself be 
afloat naval. This offensive element of coast 
defense is to be found in the torpedo-boat, in its 
various developments. It must be kept distinct in 
idea from the sea-going fleet, although it is, of 

Preparedness for Naval War 131 

course, possible that the two may act in concert. 
The war very well may take such a turn that the 
sea-going navy will find, its best preparation for 
initiating an offensive movement to be by concen- 
trating in a principal seaport. Failing such a con- 
tingency, however, and in and for coast defense in 
its narrower sense, there should be a local flotilla of 
small torpedo-vessels, which by their activity should 
make life a burden to an outside enemy. A dis- 
tinguished British admiral, now dead, has said that 
he believed half the captains of a blockading fleet 
would break down " go crazy " were the words 
repeated to me under the strain of modern con- 
ditions. The expression, of course, was intended 
simply to convey a sense of the immensity of sus- 
pense to be endured. In such a flotilla, owing to the 
smallness of its components, and to the simplicity of 
their organization and functions, is to be found the 
best sphere for naval volunteers; the duties could 
be learned with comparative ease, and the whole 
system is susceptible of rapid development. Be it 
remembered, however, that it is essentially defen- 
sive, only incidentally offensive, in character. 

Such are the main elements of coast defense 
guns, lines of torpedoes, torpedo-boats. Of these 
none can be extemporized, with the possible excep- 
tion of the last, and that would be only a makeshift. 
To go into details would exceed the limits of an 
article, require a brief treatise. Suffice it to say, 
without the first two, coast cities are open to bom- 
bardment; without the last, they can be blockaded 
freely, unless relieved by the sea-going navy. Bom- 

Pan I: Naval Principles 

bardment and blockade arc recognized modes of 
warfare, subject only to reasonable notification, 
a concession rather to humanity and equity than to 
strict law. 1 Bombardment and blockade directed 
against great national centers, in the close and com- 
plicated network of national and commercial in- 
terests as they exist in modern times, strike not 
only the point affected, but every corner of the land. 

The offensive in naval war, as has been said, is 
the function of the sea-going navy of the battle- 
ships, and of the cruisers of various sizes and pur- 
poses, including sea-going torpedo-vessels capable of 
accompanying a fleet, without impeding its move- 
ments by their loss of speed or unseaworthiness. 
Seaworthiness, and reasonable speed under all 
weather conditions, are qualities necessary to every 
constituent of a fleet; but, over and above these, the 
backbone and real power of any navy are the vessels 
which, by due proportion of defensive and offensive 
powers, are capable of taking and giving hard 
knocks. All others are but subservient to these, and 
exist only for them. 

What is that strength to be? Ships answering 
to this description are the kind which make naval 
strength; what is to be its degree? What their 
number? The answer a broad formula is that 
it must be great enough to take the sea, and to fight, 
with reasonable chances of success, the largest force 
likely to be brought against it, as shown by calcula- 

Bomhardmcnr of undfft ndtd ports, towns, etc., is forbidden by Con- 
rhe Hague conference of 1907, with the broad concession, 
r. that depots, store houses, and all constructions that serve 
military purposes may be destroyed. EDITOR. 

Preparedness for Naval War 133 

tions which have been indicated previously. Being, 
as we claim, and as our past history justifies us in 
claiming, a nation indisposed to aggression, unwill- 
ing to extend our possessions or our interests by war, 
the measure of strength we set ourselves depends, 
necessarily, not upon our projects of aggrandize- 
ment, but upon the disposition of others to thwart 
what we consider our reasonable policy, which they 
may not so consider. When they resist, what force 
can they bring against us? That force must be 
naval; we have no exposed point upon which land 
operations, decisive in character, can be directed. 
This is the kind of the hostile force to be appre- 
hended. What may its size be? There is the 
measure of our needed strength. The calculation 
may be intricate, the conclusion only approximate 
and probable, but it is the nearest reply we can reach. 
So many ships of such and such sizes, so many guns, 
so much ammunition in short, so much naval 
material. / 

In the material provisions that have been sum- 
marized under the two chief heads of defense and 
offense in coast defense under its three principal 
requirements, guns, lines of stationary torpedoes, 
and torpedo-boats, and in a navy able to keep the sea 
in the presence of a probable enemy consist what 
may be called most accurately preparations for war. 
In so far as the United States is short in them, she 
is at the mercy of an enemy whose naval strength 
is greater than that of her own available navy. If 
her navy cannot keep the enemy off the coast, block- 
ade at least is possible. If, in addition, there are no 

134 Part I: Naval Principles 

harbor torpedo-boats, blockade is easy. If, further, 
guns and torpedo lines are deficient, bombardment 
comes within the range of possibility, and may reach 
even the point of entire feasibility. There will be 
no time for preparation after war begins. 

[The remainder of the essay considers the vital 
problem of supplying the navy with trained men, 
both in active service and in reserve. It is pointed 
out that, of the two systems, compulsory enlistments 
for short service and voluntary enlistments for long 
service, the second system, which is the one employed 
by the United States, produces fewer though better 
trained reserves; and it therefore necessitates a 
larger standing force. EDITOR.] 




France under Louis XIV 

/ "pHE peace signed at Ryswick in 1697 was most 
* disadvantageous to France ; she lost all that had 
been gained since the Peace of Nimeguen, nineteen 
years before, with the single important exception of 
Strasburg. All that Louis XIV had gained by trick 
or force during the years of peace was given up. 
Immense restitutions were made to Germany and to 
Spain. In so far as the latter were made in the 
Netherlands, they were to the immediate advantage 
of the United Provinces, and indeed of all Europe 
as well as of Spain. To the two sea nations the 
terms of the treaty gave commercial benefits, which 
tended to the increase of their own sea power and 
to the consequent injury of that of France. 

France had made a gigantic struggle; to stand 
alone as she did then, and as she has since done more 
than once, against all Europe is a great feat. Yet 
it may be said that as the United Provinces taught 
the lesson that a nation, however active and enter- 
prising, cannot rest upon external resources alone, 
if intrinsically weak in numbers and territory, so 

1 "The Influence of Sea Power upon History" (1660-1783), pp. 
197-200. Admiral Mahan's major historical works treat consecutively 
the history of naval warfare from 1660 to 1815; and his essays and 
shorter studies cover subsequent wars. The selections in Part II are 
arranged in chronological order. EDITOR. 

138 Part II: Sea Power in History 

France in its measure shows that a nation cannot 
subsist indefinitely off itself, however powerful in 
numbers and strong in internal resources. 

It is said that a friend once found Colbert looking 
dreamily from his windows, and on questioning him 
as to the subject of his meditations, received this 
reply: " In contemplating the fertile fields before 
my eyes, I recall those which I have seen elsewhere ; 
what a rich country is France ! " This conviction 
supported him amid the many discouragements of 
his official life, when struggling to meet the financial 
difficulties arising from the extravagance and wars 
of the king; and it has been justified by the whole 
course of the nation's history since his days. France 
is rich in natural resources as well as in the industry 
and thrift of her people. But neither individual 
nations nor men can thrive when severed from 
natural intercourse with their kind; whatever the 
native vigor of constitution, it requires healthful 
surroundings, and freedom to draw to itself from 
near and from far all that is conducive to its growth 
and strength and general welfare. Not only must 
the internal organism work satisfactorily, the proc- 
esses of decay and renewal, of movement and cir- 
culation, go on easily, but, from sources external to 
themselves, both mind and body must receive health- 
ful and varied nourishment. With all her natural 
gifts France wasted away because of the want of 
that lively intercourse between the different parts of 
her own body and constant exchange with other 
people, which is known as commerce, internal or ex- 
ternal. To say that war was the cause of these de- 

A Nation Exhausted by Isolation 139 

fects is to state at least a partial truth ; but it does not 
exhaust the matter. War, with its many acknowl- 
edged sufferings, is above all harmful when it cuts 
a nation off from others and throws it back upon 
itself. There may indeed be periods when such rude 
shocks have a bracing effect, but they are exceptional, 
and of short duration, and they do not invalidate the 
general statement. Such isolation was the lot of 
France during the later wars of Louis XIV, and it 
well-nigh destroyed her; whereas to save her from 
the possibility of such stagnation was the great aim 
of Colbert's life. 

War alone could not entail it, if only war could 
be postponed until the processes of circulation within 
and without the kingdom were established and in 
vigorous operation. They did not exist when he 
took office; they had to be both created and firmly 
rooted in order to withstand the blast of war. 
Time was not given to accomplish this great work, 
nor did Louis XIV support the schemes of his 
minister by turning the budding energies of his docile 
and devoted subjects into paths favorable to it. So 
when the great strain came upon the powers of the 
nation, instead of drawing strength from every quar- 
ter and through many channels, and laying the whole 
outside world under contribution by the energy of 
its merchants and seamen, as England has done in 
like straits, it was thrown back upon itself, cut off 
from the world by the navies of England and Hol- 
land, and the girdle of enemies which surrounded it 
upon the continent. The only escape from this 
process of gradual starvation was by an effectual 

140 Part II: Sea Power in History 

control of the sea ; the creation of a strong sea power 
which should ensure free play for the wealth of the 
land and the industry of the people. For this, too, 
ncc had great natural advantages in her three 
seaboards, on the Channel, the Atlantic, and the 
Mediterranean; and politically she had had the fair 
opportunity of joining to her own maritime power 
that of the Dutch in friendly alliance, hostile or at 
least wary toward England. In the pride of his 
strength, conscious of absolute control in his king- 
dom, Louis cast away this strong reinforcement to 
his power, and proceeded to rouse Europe against 
him by repeated aggressions. In the period which 
we have just considered, France justified his con- 
fidence by a magnificent, and upon the whole success- 
ful, maintenance of his attitude against all Europe; 
she did not advance, but neither did she greatly 
recede. But this display of power was exhausting; 
it ate away the life of the nation, because it drew 
wholly upon itself and not upon the outside world, 
with which it could have been kept in contact by the 
sea. In the war that next followed, the same energy 
is seen, but not the same vitality; and France was 
everywhere beaten back and brought to the verge 
of ruin. The lesson of both is the same; nations, 
like men, however strong, decay when cut off from 
the external activities and resources which at once 
draw out and support their internal powers. A 
nation, as we have already shown, cannot live in- 
definitely off itself, and the easiest way by which it 
can communicate with other peoples and renew its 
own strength is the sea. 

England after the Peace of Utrecht, ///5 

England's policy thus steadily aimed at 
widening and strengthening the bases of her 
sway upon the ocean, the other governments of Eu- 
rope seemed blind to the dangers to be feared from 
her sea growth. The miseries resulting from the over- 
weening power of Spain in days long gone by seemed 
to be forgotten; forgotten also the more recent 
lesson of the bloody and costly wars provoked by the 
ambition and exaggerated power of Louis XIV. 
Under the eyes of the statesmen of Europe there 
was steadily and visibly being built up a third over- 
whelming power, destined to be used as selfishly, 
as aggressively, though not as cruelly, and much 
more successfully than any that had preceded it. 
This was the power of the sea, whose workings, 
because more silent than the clash of arms, are less 
often noted, though lying clearly enough on the 
surface. It can scarcely be denied that England's 
uncontrolled dominion of the seas, during almost 
the whole period chosen for our subject, was by 
long odds the chief among the military factors that 
determined the final issue. 2 So far, however, was 

1 "The Influence of Sea Power upon History," pp. 63-67. 

2 An interesting proof of the weight attributed to the naval power of 
Great Britain by a great military authority will be found in the opening 
chapter of Jomini's "History of the Wars of the French Revolution." 
He lays down, as a fundamental principle of European policy, that an 

1 !_' Part II: Sea Power in History 

this influence from being foreseen after Utrecht, 
that France for twelve years, moved by personal 
exigencies of her rulers, sided with England against 
Spain; and when Fleuri came into power in 1726, 
though this policy was reversed, the navy of France 
received no attention, and the only blow at England 
was the establishment of a Bourbon prince, a natural 
enemy to her, upon the throne of the two Sicilies in 
1736. When war broke out with Spain in 1739, 
the navy of England was in numbers more than 
equal to the combined navies of Spain and France; 
and during the quarter of a century of nearly un- 
interrupted war that followed, this numerical dis- 
proportion increased. In these wars England, at 
first instinctively, afterward with conscious purpose 
under a government that recognized her oppor- 
tunity and the possibilities of her great sea power, 
rapidly built up that mighty colonial empire whose 
foundations were already securely laid in the char- 
acteristics of her colonists and the strength of her 
fleets. In strictly European affairs her wealth, the 
outcome of her sea power, made her play a con- 
spicuous part during the same period. The system 
of subsidies, which began half a century before in 
the wars of Marlborough and received its most ex- 
tensive development half a century later in the 
Napoleonic wars, maintained the efforts of her 
allies, which would have been crippled, if not 
paralyzed, without them. Who can deny that the 

unlimited expansion of naval force should not be permitted to any 
n which cannot be approached by land, a description which can 
apply only to Great Britain. 

Growth of British Sea Power 143 

government which with one hand strengthened its 
fainting allies on the continent with the life-blood 
of money, and with the other drove its own enemies 
off the sea and out of their chief possessions, 
Canada, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Havana, Manila, 
gave to its country the foremost role in European 
politics; and who can fail to see that the power 
which dwelt in that government, with a land narrow 
in extent and poor in resources, sprang directly from 
the sea? The policy in which the English govern- 
ment carried on the war is shown by a speech of 
Pitt, the master-spirit during its course, though he 
lost office before bringing it to an end. Condemn- 
ing the Peace of 1763, made by his political 
opponent, he said : " France is chiefly, if not exclu- 
sively, formidable to us as a maritime and com- 
mercial power. What we gain in this respect is 
valuable to us, above all, through the injury to her 
which results from it. You have left to France the 
possibility of reviving her navy." Yet England's 
gains were enormous; her rule in India was assured, 
and all North America east of the Mississippi in her 
hands. By this time the onward path of her govern- 
ment was clearly marked out, had assumed the force 
of a tradition, and was consistently followed. The 
war of the American Revolution was, it is true, a 
great mistake, looked at from the point of view of 
sea power; but the government was led into it in- 
sensibly by a series of natural blunders. Putting 
aside political and constitutional considerations, and 
looking at the question as purely military or naval, 
the case was this : The American colonies were large 

144 Part II: Sea Power in History 

and growing communities at a great distance from 
England. So long as they remained attached to the 
mother-country, as they then were enthusiastically, 
they formed a solid base for her sea power in that 
part of the world; but their extent and population 
were too great, when coupled with the distance from 
England, to afford any hope of holding them by 
force, if any powerful nations were willing to help 
them. This " if," however, involved a notorious 
probability; the humiliation of France and Spain 
was so bitter and so recent that they were sure to 
seek revenge, and it was well known that France in 
particular had been carefully and rapidly building 
up her navy. Had the colonies been thirteen islands, 
the sea power of England would quickly have set- 
tled the question; but instead of such a physical 
barrier they were separated only by local jealousies 
which a common danger sufficiently overcame. To 
enter deliberately on such a contest, to try to hold 
by force so extensive a territory, with a large hostile 
population, so far from home, was to renew the 
Seven Years 1 War with France and Spain, and with 
the Americans, against, instead of for, England. 
The Seven Years* War had been so heavy a burden 
that a wise government would have known that the 
added weight could not be borne, and have seen it 
wa necessary to conciliate the colonists. The gov- 
ernment of the day was not wise, and a large ele- 
ment of England's sea power was sacrificed; but 
by mistake, not willfully; through arrogance, not 
through weakness. 

This steady keeping to a general line of policy 

Growth of British Sea Power 145 

was doubtless made specially easy for successive 
English governments by the clear indications of the 
country's conditions. Singleness of purpose was to 
some extent imposed. The firm maintenance of her 
sea power, the haughty determination to make it 
felt, the wise state of preparation in which its mili- 
tary element was kept, were yet more due to that 
feature of her political institutions which practically 
gave the government, during the period in question, 
into the hands of a class, a landed aristocracy. 
Such a class, whatever its defects otherwise, readily 
takes up and carries on a sound political tradition, 
is naturally proud of its country's glory, and com- 
paratively insensible to the sufferings of the com- 
munity by which that glory is maintained. It readily 
lays on the pecuniary burden necessary for prep- 
aration and for endurance of war. Being as a body 
rich, it feels those burdens less. Not being com- 
mercial, the sources of its own wealth are not so 
immediately endangered, and it does not share that 
political timidity which characterizes those whose 
property is exposed and business threatened, the 
proverbial timidity of capital. Yet in England this 
class was not insensible to anything that touched her 
trade for good or ill. Both houses of Parliament 
vied in careful watchfulness. over its extension and 
protection, and to the frequency of their inquiries 
a naval historian attributes the increased efficiency 
of the executive power in its management of the 
navy. Such a class also naturally imbibes and keeps 
up a spirit of military honor, which is of the first 
importance in ages .when military institutions have 

146 Part II: Sea Pouvr /;/ History 

not yet provided the sufficient substitute in what is 
called tsprit-de-corps. But although full of class 
feeling and class prejudice, which made themselves 
felt in the navy as well as elsewhere, their practical 
sense left open the way of promotion to its highest 
honors to the more humbly born; and every age 
saw admirals who had sprung from the lowest of 
the people. In this the temper of the English upper 
class differed markedly from that of the French. 
As late as 1789, at the outbreak of the Revolution, 
the French Navy List still bore the name of an 
official whose duty was to verify the proofs of noble 
birth on the part of those intending to enter the 
naval school. 

Since 1815, and especially in our own day, the 
government of England has passed very much more 
into the hands of the people at large. Whether her 
sea power will suffer therefrom remains to be seen. 
Its broad basis still remains in a great trade, large 
mechanical industries, and an extensive colonial 
system. Whether a democratic government will 
have the foresight, the keen sensitiveness to national 
position and credit, the willingness to ensure its 
prosperity by adequate outpouring of money in 
times of peace, all of which arc necessary for mili- 
tary preparation, is yet an open question. Popular 
governments are not generally favorable to military 
expenditure, however necessary, and there are signs 
that England tends to drop behind. 


NEVERTHELESS, the gains of England were 
very great, not only in territorial increase, nor 
yet in maritime preponderance, but in the prestige 
and position achieved in the eyes of the nations, now 
fully opened to her great resources and mighty 
power. To these results, won by the sea, the issue 
of the continental war offered a singular and sug- 
gestive contrast. France had already withdrawn, 
along with England, from all share in that strife, 
and peace between the other parties to it was signed 
five days after the Peace of Paris. The terms of the 
peace was simply the status quo ante helium. By 
the estimate of the King of Prussia, one hundred 
and eighty thousand of his soldiers had fallen or 
died in this war, out of a kingdom of five million 
souls, while the losses of Russia, Austria, and France 
aggregated four hundred and sixty thousand men. 
The result was simply that things remained as they 
were. 2 To attribute this only to a difference be- 
tween the possibilities of land and sea war is of 
course absurd. The genius of Frederick, backed 
by the money of England, had proved an equal 

1 "The Influence of Sea Power upon History," pp. 323-329. By 
the Treaty of Paris, 1763, England secured Canada, all French posses- 
sions east of the Mississippi, and Florida; she also retained Gibraltar 
and Minorca, and gained ascendancy in India. EDITOR. 

2 See Annual Register, 1762, p. 63. 

1 1^ Pan II: Sea Power in History 

match for the mismanaged and not always hearty 
efforts of a coalition numerically overwhelming. 

What docs seem a fair conclusion is, that States 
having a good seaboard, or even ready access to the 
ocean by one or two outlets, will find it to their ail- 
vantage to seek prosperity and extension by the way 
of the sea and of commerce, rather than in attempts 
to unsettle and modify existing political arrangements 
in countries where a more or less long possession 
of power has conferred acknowledged rights, and 
created national allegiance or political ties. Since 
the Treaty of Paris in 1763, the waste places of the 
world have been rapidly filled; witness our own 
continent, Australia, and even South America. A 
nominal and more or less clearly defined political 
possession now generally exists in the most forsaken 
regions, though to this statement there are some 
marked exceptions; but in many places this political 
possession is little more than nominal, and in others 
of a character so feeble that it cannot rely upon 
itself alone for support or protection. The familiar 
and notorious example of the Turkish Empire, kept 
erect only by the forces pressing upon it from oppos- 
ing sides, by the mutual jealousies of powers that 
have no sympathy with it, is an instance of such 
weak political tenure; and though the question is 
wholly European, all know enough of it to be aware 
that the interest and control of the sea powers is 
among the chief, if not the first, of the elements that 
now fix the situation; and that they, if intelligently 
used, will direct the future inevitable changes. 
Upon the western continents -the political condition 

Results of the Seven Years' War 149 

of the Central American and tropical South Amer- 
ican States is so unstable as to cause constant anxiety 
about the maintenance of internal order, and seri- 
ously to interfere with commerce and with the 
peaceful development of their resources. So long 
as to use a familiar expression they hurt no 
one but themselves, this may go on; but for a long 
time the citizens of more stable governments have 
been seeking to exploit their resources, and have 
borne the losses arising from their distracted con- 
dition. North America and Australia still offer 
large openings to immigration and enterprise; but 
they are filling up rapidly, and as the opportunities 
there diminish, the demand must arise for a more 
settled government in those disordered States, for 
security to life and for reasonable stability of in- 
stitutions enabling merchants and others to count 
upon the future. There is certainly no present hope 
that such a demand can be fulfilled from the existing 
native materials; if the same be true when the 
demand arises, no theoretical positions, like the 
Monroe Doctrine, will prevent interested nations 
from attempting to remedy the evil by some meas- 
ure, which, whatever it may be called, will be a 
political interference. Such interferences must pro- 
duce collisions, which may be at times settled by 
arbitration, but can scarcely fail at other times to 
cause war. Even for a peaceful solution, that 
nation will have the strongest arguments which has 
the strongest organized force. 

It need scarcely be said that the successful piercing 
of the Central American Isthmus at any point may 

150 Part II: Sea Power in History 

precipitate the moment that is sure to come sooner 
or later. The profound modification of commercial 
routes expected from this enterprise, the political 
importance to the United States of such a channel 
of communication between her Atlantic and Pacific 
seaboards, are not, however, the whole nor even 
the principal part of the question. As far as can be 
seen, the time will come when stable governments 
for the American tropical States must be assured by 
the now existing powerful and stable States of 
America or Europe. The geographical position of 
those States, the climatic conditions, make it plain 
at once that sea power will there, even more than in 
the case of Turkey, determine what foreign State 
shall predominate, if not by actual possession, by 
its influence over the native governments. The 
geographical position of the United States and her 
intrinsic power give her an undeniable advantage; 
but that advantage will not avail if there is a great 
inferiority of organized brute-force, which still re- 
mains the last argument of republics as of kings. 

ein lies to us the great and still living interest 

he Seven Years' War. In it we have seen and 
followed England, with an army small as compared 
with other States, as is still her case to-day, first 
successfully defending her own shores, then carrying 
her arms in every direction, spreading her rule anil 
influence over remote regions, and not only binding 
them to her obedience, but making them tributary 
to her wealth, her strength, and her reputation. As 
he loosens the grasp and neutrali/rs the influence of 

nee and Spain in regions beyond the sea, there 

Results of the Seven Years 1 War 151 

is perhaps seen the prophecy of some other great 
nation in days yet to come, that will incline the 
balance of power in some future sea war, whose 
scope will be recognized afterward, if not by con- 
temporaries, to have been the political future and 
the economical development of regions before lost 
to civilization; but that nation will not be the United 
States if the moment find her indifferent, as now, to 
the empire of the seas. 

The direction then given to England's efforts, by 
the instinct of the nation and the fiery genius of 
Pitt, continued after the war, and has profoundly 
influenced her subsequent policy. Mistress now of 
North America, lording it in India, through the 
company whose territorial conquests had been rati- 
fied by native princes, over twenty millions of in- 
habitants, a population larger than that of Great 
Britain and having a revenue respectable alongside 
of that of the home government, England, with 
yet other rich possessions scattered far and wide over 
the globe, had ever before her eyes, as a salutary 
lesson, the severe chastisement which the weakness of 
Spain had allowed her to inflict upon that huge dis- 
jointed empire. The words of the English naval his- 
torian of that war, speaking about Spain, apply with 
slight modifications to England in our own day. 

" Spain is precisely that power against which 
England can always contend with the fairest pros- 
pect of advantage and honor. That extensive 
monarchy is exhausted at heart, her resources lie at 
a great distance, and whatever power commands the 
sea, may command the wealth and commerce of 

Part II: Sea Power in History 

Spain. The dominions from which she draws her 
resources, lying at an immense distance from the 
capital and from one another, make it more neces- 
sary for her than for any other State to temporize, 
until she can inspire with activity all parts of her 
enormous but disjointed empire." * 

It would be untrue to say that England is ex- 
hausted at heart; but her dependence upon the out- 
side world is such as to give a certain suggestiveness 
to the phrase. 

This analogy of positions was not overlooked by 
England. From that time forward up to our own 
day, the possessions won for her by her sea power 
have combined with that sea power itself to control 
her policy. The road to India in the days of 
Clive a distant and perilous voyage on which she 
had not a stopping-place of her own was rein- 
forced as opportunity offered by the acquisition of 
St. Helena, of the Cape of Good Hope, of the 
Mauritius. When steam made the Red Sea and 
Mediterranean route practicable, she acquired Aden, 
and yet later has established herself at Socotra. 
Malta had already fallen into her hands during the 
wars of the French Revolution; and her command- 
ing position, as the corner-stone upon which the 
coalitions against Napoleon rested, enabled her to 
claim it at the Peace of 1815. Being but a short 
thousand miles from Gibraltar, the circles of mili- 
tary command exercised by these two places inter- 
icct. The present day has seen the stretch from 
Malta to the Isthmus of Suez, formerly without a 
1 Campbell, "Live* of the Admirals." 

Results of the Seven Years' War 153 

station, guarded by the cession to her of Cyprus. 
Egypt, despite the jealousy of France, has passed 
under English control. The importance of that 
position to India, understood by Napoleon and 
Nelson, led the latter at once to send an officer over- 
land to Bombay with the news of the battle of the 
Nile and the downfall of Bonaparte's hopes. Even 
now, the jealousy with which England views the ad- 
vance of Russia in Central Asia is the result of those 
days in which her sea power and resources tri- 
umphed over the weakness of D'Ache and the genius 
of Suffren, and wrenched the peninsula of India 
from the ambition of the French. 

" For the first time since the Middle Ages," says 
M. Martin, speaking of the Seven Years' War, 
" England had conquered France single-handed 
almost without allies, France having powerful 
auxiliaries. She had conquered solely by the su- 
periority of her government." 

Yes! but by the superiority of her government 
using the tremendous weapon of her sea power. 
This made her rich and in turn protected the trade 
by which she had her wealth. With her money she 
upheld her few auxiliaries, mainly Prussia and 
Hanover, in their desperate strife. Her power was 
everywhere that her ships could reach, and there 
was none to dispute the sea to her. Where she 
would she went, and with her went her guns and her 
troops. By this mobility her forces were multiplied, 
those of her enemies distracted. Ruler of the 
seas, she everywhere obstructed its highways. The 
enemies' fleets could not join; no great fleet could 

154 Part II: Sea Power in History 

get out, or if it did, it was only to meet at once, 
with uninured officers and crews, those who were 
veterans in gales and warfare. Save in the case of 
Minorca, she carefully held her own sea-bases and 
eagerly seized those of the enemy. What a lion in 
the path was Gibraltar to the French squadrons of 
Toulon and Brest! What hope for French succor 
to Canada, when the English fleet had Louisburg 
under its lee? 

The one nation that gained in this war was that 
which used the sea in peace to earn its wealth, and 
ruled it in war by the extent of its navy, by the 
number of its subjects who lived on the sea or by 
the sea, and by its numerous bases of operations 
scattered over the globe. Yet it must be observed 
that these bases themselves would have lost their 
value if their communications remained obstructed. 
Therefore the French lost Louisburg, Martinique, 
Pondicherry; so England herself lost Minorca. 
The service between the bases and the mobile force, 
between the ports and the fleets, is mutual. 1 In this 
respect the navy is essentially a light corps ; it keeps 
open the communications between its own ports, it 
obstructs those of the enemy; but it sweeps the sea 
for the service of the land, it controls the desert that 
man may live and thrive on the habitable globe. 

1 These remarks, always true, are doubly so now since the introduc- 
tion of steam. The renewal of coal is a want more frequent, more ur- 
pnt, more peremptory, than any known to the sailing-ship. It is vain to 
look for energetic naval operations distant from coal stations. It is 
equally vain to acquire distant coaling stations without maintaining a 
powerful navy; they will but fall into the hands of the enemy. But tin 
-r of all delusions is the expectation of bringing down an enemy by 
commerce-destroying alone, with no coaling stations outside the national 


^OURVILLE, 2 though a brilliant seaman, thus 
* not only typified an era of transition, with 
which he was contemporary, but fore-shadowed the 
period of merely formal naval warfare, precise, me- 
thodical, and unenterprising, emasculated of military 
virility, although not of mere animal courage. He 
left to his successors the legacy of a great name, but 
also unfortunately that of a defective professional 
tradition. The splendid days of the French Navy 
under Louis XIV passed away with him, he died 
in 1701 ; but during the long period of naval lethargy 
on the part of the state, which followed, the French 
naval officers, as a class, never wholly lost sight of 
professional ideals. They proved themselves, on 
the rare occasions that offered, before 1715 and 
during the wars of Hawke and Rodney, not only 
gallant seamen after the pattern of Tourville, but 
also exceedingly capable tacticians, upon a system 
good as far as it went, but defective on Tourville's 
express lines, in aiming rather at exact dispositions 
and defensive security than at the thorough-going 
initiative and persistence which confounds and de- 
stroys the enemy. " War," to use Napoleon's 

1 "Types of Naval Officers," pp. 14-17. 

2 A celebrated French admiral, in command at the battles of Beachy 
Head (1690) and La Hogue (1692). EDITOR. 

156 Part II: Sea Power in History 

phrase, " was to be waged without running risks.* 1 
The sword was drawn, but the scabbard was kept 
ever open for its retreat. 

The English, in the period of reaction which suc- 
ceeded the Dutch wars, produced their own carica- 
ture of systematized tactics. Even under its influ- 
ence, up to 1715, it is only just to say they did not 
construe naval skill to mean anxious care to keep 
one's own ships intact. Rooke, off Malaga, in 1704, 
illustrated professional fearlessness of consequences 
as conspicuously as he had shown personal daring 
in the boat attack at La Hogue; but his plans of 
battle exemplified the particularly British form of 
inefficient naval action. There was no great differ- 
ence in aggregate force between the French fleet and 
that of the combined Anglo-Dutch under his orders. 
The former, drawing up in the accustomed line of 
battle, ship following ship in a single column, 
awaited attack. Rooke, having the advantage of 
the wind, and therefore the power of engaging at 
will, formed his command in a similar and parallel 
line a few miles off, and thus all stood down to- 
gether, the ships maintaining their line parallel to 
that of the enemy, and coming into action at prac- 
tically the same moment, van to van, center to 
center, rear to rear. This ignored wholly the es- 
sential maxim of all intelligent warfare, which is 
to to engage as markedly to outnumber the enemy 
at a point of main collision. If he be broken there, 
before the remainder of his force come up, the 
chances all are that a decisive superiority will be 
established by this alone, not to mention the moral 

Eighteenth Century Formalism 157 

effect of partial defeat and disorder. Instead of 
this, the impact at Malaga was so distributed as to 
produce a substantial equality from one end to the 
other of the opposing fronts. The French, indeed, 
by strengthening their center relatively to the van 
and rear, to some extent modified this condition in 
the particular instance; but the fact does not seem 
to have induced any alteration in Rooke's disposi- 
tions. Barring mere accident, nothing conclusive 
can issue from such arrangements. The result ac- 
cordingly was a drawn battle, although Rooke says 
that the fight, which was maintained on both sides 
" with great fury for three hours, . . . was the 
sharpest day's service that I ever saw;" and he 
had seen much, Beachy Head, La Hogue, Vigo 
Bay, not to mention his own great achievement in 
the capture of Gibraltar. 

This method of attack remained the ideal if 
such a word is not a- misnomer in such a case of 
the British Navy, not merely as a matter of irre- 
flective professional acceptance, but laid down in the 
official " Fighting Instructions." * It cannot be said 
that these err on the side of lucidity; but their mean- 
ing to contemporaries in this particular respect is 
ascertained, not only by fair inference from their 
contents, but by the practical commentary of numer- 
ous actions under commonplace commanders-in- 
chief. It further received authoritative formula- 
tion in the specific finding of the Court-Martial 

1 The most famous of these were issued in 1665 by the Duke of 
York, afterward James II, who was then Lord High Admiral. They 
were revised but not greatly altered in 1740 and again in 1756. EDITOR. 

158 Pan II: Sea Power in History 

upon Admiral Byng, which was signed by thirteen 
experienced officers. " Admiral Byng should have 
caused his ships to tack together, and should im- 
mediately have borne down upon the enemy; his 
van steering for the enemy's van, his rear for its 
rear, each ship making for the one opposite to her 
in the enemy's line, under such sail as would have 
enabled the worst sailer to preserve her station in 
the line of battle." l Each phrase of this opinion 
is a reflection of an article in the Instructions. The 
line of battle was the naval fetish of the day; and, 
be it remarked, it was the more dangerous because 
in itself an admirable and necessary instrument, con- 
structed on principles essentially accurate. A stand- 
ard wholly false may have its error demonstrated 
with comparative ease; but no servitude is more 
hopeless than that of unintelligent submission to an 
idea formally correct, yet incomplete. It has all the 
vicious misleading of a half-truth unqualified by 
appreciation of modifying conditions; and so sea- 
men who disdained theories, and hugged the belief 
in themselves as " practical," became doctrinaires 
in the worst sense. 

1 Bang's offense, for which he was sentenced to be shot, occurred in 
an action with a French squadron off Minorca in 1756. EDITOR. 

Rodney and De Guichen, April 77, 1780 

nVESPITE his brilliant personal courage and pro- 
4^ fessional skill, which in the matter of tactics was 
far in advance of his contemporaries in England, 
Rodney, as a commander-in-chief, belongs rather to 
the wary, cautious school of the French tacticians than 
to the impetuous, unbounded eagerness of Nelson. 
As in Tourville we have seen the desperate fighting 
of the seventeenth century, unwilling to leave its 
enemy, merging into the formal, artificial we may 
almost say trifling parade tactics of the eigh- 
teenth, so in Rodney we shall see the transition from 
those ceremonious duels to an action which, while 
skillful in conception, aimed at serious results. For 
it would be unjust to Rodney to press the com- 
parison to the French admirals of his day. With a 
skill that De Guichen recognized as soon as they 
crossed swords, Rodney meant mischief, not idle 
flourishes. Whatever incidental favors fortune 
might bestow by the way, the objective from which 
his eye never wandered was the French fleet, the 
organized military force of the enemy on the sea. 
And on the day when Fortune forsook the opponent 
who had neglected her offers, when the conqueror of 
Cornwallis failed to strike while he had Rodney at 

1 "The Influence of Sea Power upon History," pp. 377~38o. 

Hi' > Part II: Sea Power in History 

a disadvantage, the latter won a victory l which 
redeemed England from the depths of anxiety, and 
restored to her by one blow all those islands which 
the cautious tactics of the allies had for a moment 
gained, save only Tobago. 

DC Guichen and Rodney met for the first time on 
the 1 7th of April, 1780, three weeks after the ar- 
rival of the latter. The French fleet was beating 
to windward in the channel between Martinique 
and Dominica, when the enemy was made in the 
southeast. A day was spent in maneuvering for the 
weather-gage, which Rodney got. The two fleets 
being now well to leeward of the islands (see Plate), 
both on the starboard tack heading to the north- 
ward and the French on the lee bow of the English, 
Rodney, who was carrying a press of sail, signalled 
to his fleet that he meant to attack the enemy's rear 
and center with his whole force; and when he had 
reached the position he thought suitable, ordered 
them to keep away eight points (90) together 
(A, A, A). De Guichen, seeing the danger of the 
rear, wore his fleet all together and stood down to 
succor it. Rodney, finding himself foiled, hauled 
up again on the same tack as the enemy, both fleets 
now heading to the southward and eastward. - 

1 De Gratse, whose victory over Graves off the Chesapeake forced 
the surrender of Cornwall!*, was afterward defeated by Rodney in the 
famous battle of the Saints' Passage, April 12, 1782. Three days earlier, 

ute had neglected an opportunity to attack in superior force. 
While the battle of the Saints' Passage is more celebrated, the a 
described better illustrates Rodney's merits as a tactician. In his 
vears Rodney wrote that he "thought little >f his victory of the 
1 2th of April," and looked upon this earlier action as "one by which, 
but for the disobedience of his captains, he might have gamed im- 
mortal renown." Mahan, " Types of Naval Officers," p. 203. EDITOR. 
1 The black ships, in position A, represent the English ships bearing 

The New Tactics 


l*i II 

z < 


162 Part II: Sea Power in History 

Later, he again made signal for battle, followed an 
hour after, just at noon, by the order (quoting his 
own despatch), " for every ship to bear down and 
steer for her opposite in the enemy's line." This, 
which sounds like the old story of ship to ship, 
Rodney explains to have meant her opposite at the 
moment, not her opposite in numerical order. His 
own words are : " In a slanting position, that my 
leading ships might attack the van ships of the 
enemy's center division, and the whole British fleet 
be opposed to only two thirds of the enemy " 
(B, B). The difficulty and misunderstanding which 
followed seem to have sprung mainly from the de- 
fective character of the signal book. Instead of 
doing as the admiral wished, the leading ships (a) 
carried sail so as to reach their supposed station 
abreast their numerical opposite in the order. 
Rodney stated afterward that when he bore down 
the second time, the French fleet was in a very ex- 
tended line of battle; and that, had his orders been 
obeyed, the center and rear must have been disabled 
before the van could have joined. 

There seems every reason to believe that Rod- 
ney's intentions throughout were to double on the 
French, as asserted. The failure sprang from the 
signal book and tactical inefficiency of the fleet; for 
which he, having lately joined, was not answerable. 
But the ugliness of his fence was so apparent to 
DC Guichen, that he exclaimed, when the English 

down upon the French center and rear. The line y r is the line of battle 
from van to rear before bearing down. The positions v', r' are those of 
the van and rear ships after hauling up on the port tack, w lu n t lu I rench 
wore. EDITOR. 

The New Tactics 163 

fleet kept away the first time, that six or seven of 
his ships were gone; and sent word to Rodney that 
if his signals had been obeyed he would have had 
him for his prisoner. 1 A more convincing proof 
that he recognized the dangerousness of his enemy 
is to be found in the fact that he took care not to 
have the lee-gage in their subsequent encounters. 
Rodney's careful plans being upset, he showed that 
with them he carried all the stubborn courage of 
the most downright fighter; taking his own ship close 
to the enemy and ceasing only when the latter hauled 
off, her foremast and mainyard gone, and her hull 
so damaged that she could hardly be kept afloat. 

1 In a severe reprimand addressed to Captain Carkett, commanding 
the leading ship of the English line, by Rodney, he says: "Your leading 
in the manner you did, induced others to follow so bad an example; and 
thereby, forgetting that the signal for the line was at only two cables' 
length distance from each other, the van division was led by you to more 
than two leagues distance from the center division, which was thereby 
exposed to the greatest strength of the enemy, and not properly sup- 
ported" (Life, Vol. I, p. 351). By all rules of tactical common-sense it 
would seem that the other ships should have taken their distance from 
their next astern, that is, should have closed toward the center. In 
conversation with Sir Gilbert Blane, who was not in this action, Rodney 
stated that the French line extended^four leagues in length, "as if De 
Guichen thought we meant to run away from him" (Naval Chronicle, 
Vol. XXV, p. 402). 

Graves and De Grasse off the Chesapeake 

[PRELIMINARY to the events narrated, the gen- 
* eral naval situation was as follows: The main 
British and French fleets, under Rodney and De 
Grasse, respectively, were in the West Indies, while a 
small British division was under Graves at New 
York, and a French squadron under De Barras was 
based on Newport, R. I. The squadrons on the 
American coast had met in a desultory action off the 
Virginia capes on March 16, 1781, after which the 
French commander had returned to Newport and 
left the British in control. EDITOR.] 

The way of the sea being thus open and held in 
force, two thousand more English troops sailing 
from New York reached Virginia on the 26th of 
March, and the subsequent arrival of Cornwallis in 
May raised the number to seven thousand. The 
operations of the contending forces during the 
spring and summer months, in which Lafayette com- 
manded the Americans, do not concern our subject. 
Early in August, Cornwallis, acting under orders 
from Clinton, withdrew his troops into the peninsula 
between the York and James rivers, and occupied 

Washington and Rochambeau had met on the 
2 ist of May, and decided that the situation de- 

1 "The Influence of Sea Power upon HUtory," pp. 387-391, 397. 

Sea Power in the American Revolution 

manded that the effort of the French West Indian 
fleet, when it came, should be directed against either 
New York or the Chesapeake. This was the tenor 
of the despatch found by De Grasse at Cap 
Frangais, 1 and meantime the allied generals drew 
their troops toward New York, where they would 
be on hand for the furtherance of one object, and 
nearer the second if they had to make for it. 

In either case the result, in the opinion both of 
Washington and of the French government, de- 
pended upon superior sea power; but Rochambeau 
had privately notified the admiral that his own pref- 
erence was for the Chesapeake as the scene of the 
intended operations, and moreover the French gov- 
ernment had declined to furnish the means for a 
formal siege of New York. 2 The enterprise there- 
fore assumed the form of an extensive military com- 
bination, dependent upon ease and rapidity of 
movement, and upon blinding the eyes of the enemy 
to the real objective, purposes to which the peculiar 
qualities of a navy admirably lent themselves. The 
shorter distance to be traversed, the greater depth 
of water and easier pilotage of the Chesapeake, 
were further reasons which would commend the 
scheme to the judgment of a seaman; and De 
Grasse readily accepted it, without making difficul- 
ties or demanding modifications which would have 
involved discussion and delay. 

Having made his decision, the French admiral 
acted with great good judgment, promptitude, and 

1 Now Cape Haitian, Haiti. EDITOR. 

* Bancroft, " History of the United States." 

166 Part II: Sea Power in History 

vigor. The same frigate that brought despatches 
from Washington was sent back, so that by August 
1 5 the allied generals knew of the intended coming 
of the fleet. Thirty-five hundred soldiers were 
spared by the governor of Cap Franqais, upon the 
condition of a Spanish squadron anchoring at the 
place, which De Grasse procured. He also raised 
from the governor of Havana the money urgently 
needed by the Americans; and finally, instead of 
weakening his force by sending convoys to France, 
as the court had wished, he took every available 
ship to the Chesapeake. To conceal his coming as 
long as possible, he passed through the Bahama 
Channel, as a less frequented route, and on the 3<Dth 
of August anchored in Lynnhaven Bay, just within 
the capes of the Chesapeake, with twenty-eight 
ships-of-the-line. Three days before, August 27, 
the French squadron at Newport, eight ships-of-the- 
line with four frigates and eighteen transports under 
M. de Barras, sailed for the rendezvous; making, 
however, a wide circuit out to sea to avoid the Eng- 
lish. This course was the more necessary as the 
French siege-artillery was with it. The troops 
under Washington and Rochambeau 1 had crossed 
the Hudson on the 24th of August, moving toward 
the head of Chesapeake Bay. Thus the different 
armed forces, both land and sea, were converging 
toward their objective, Cornwallis. 

The English were unfortunate in all directions. 

1 With the reinforcement brought by De Grasse, Lafayette's army 
numbered about 8,000; the troops brought by Washington and Rocham- 
beau consisted of 2,000 Americans and 4,000 French. EDITOR. 

Sea Power in the American Revolution 167 

Rodney, learning of De Grasse's departure, sent 
fourteen ships-of-the-line under Admiral Hood to 
North America, and himself sailed for England 
in August, on account of ill health. Hood, going 
by the direct route, reached the Chesapeake three 
days before De Grasse, looked into the bay, and 
finding it empty went on to New York. There he 


^ 5th Sept. 1781 
British - 19 Ships 
French 24 Ships 

met five ships-of-the-line under Admiral Graves, 
who, being senior officer, took command of the 
whole force and sailed on the 3ist of August for the 
Chesapeake, hoping to intercept De Barras before 
he could join De Grasse. It was not till two days 
later that Sir Henry Clinton was persuaded that the 
allied armies had gone against Cornwallis, and had 
too far the start to be overtaken. 

Admiral Graves was painfully surprised, on mak- 

168 Part II: Sea Power in History 

ing the Chesapeake, to find anchored there a fleet 
which from its numbers could only be an enemy's. 
Nevertheless, he stood in to meet it, and as De 
Grasse got under way, allowing his ships to be 
counted, the sense of numerical inferiority nine- 
teen to twenty-four did not deter the English 
admiral from attacking. The clumsiness of his 
method, however, betrayed his gallantry; many of 
his ships were roughly handled, without any advan- 
tage being gained. 1 De Grasse, expecting De Bar- 
ras, remained outside five days, keeping the English 
fleet in play without coming to action; then return- 
ing to port he found De Barras safely at anchor. 
Graves went back to New York, and with him dis- 
appeared the last hope of succor that was to gladden 
Cornwallis's eyes. The siege was steadily endured, 
but the control of the sea made only one issue pos- 
sible, and the English forces were surrendered 
October 19, 1781. With this disaster the hope of 
subduing the colonies died in England. The conflict 

1 The action itself is more fully described in Mahan's "Major 

Operations of the Navies in the War of American Independence," from 

which the diagram on page 167 is taken. In the diagram, a a indicates the 

positions of the two fleets when De Grasse came out of the bay; b b, the 

positions when the order to engage was given; f, Graves's flagship, and 

>d. f laving approached the enemy with his twelve leading ships, 

' * gave the order tolbcar down and engage, though he sttll kept 

the signal for "line ahead" flying. Whether through inability or mis- 

n of orders, the rear under Hood failed to get in range. 
Hood afterward criticised his superior severely on the grounds. 

(1) that the fleet was not brought into proper position to engage, and 

(2) that, upon engaging, the "line ahead' signal should have been hauled 
down. Mr interpreted this signal as meaning that no ship could close 
beyond a line through the flagship and parallel to the enemy line. 

Graven next day issued a memorandum to the effect that the line 
ahead was a means to an end, not an end in itself, and "that the signal 
for battle should not be rendered ineffective by strict adherence to the 
The confusion was such as frequently arose in this period of 
i from one system of tactics to another. EDITOR. 

Sea Power in the American Revolution 169 

flickered through a year longer, but no serious 
operations were undertaken. 

. . . The defeat of Graves and subsequent sur- 
render of Cornwallis did not end the naval opera- 
tions in the western hemisphere. On the contrary, 
one of the most interesting tactical feats and the 
most brilliant victory of the whole war were yet to 
grace the English flag in the West Indies; but with 
the events at Yorktown the patriotic interest for 
Americans closes. Before quitting that struggle 
for independence, it must again be affirmed that its 
successful ending, at least at so early a date, was 
due to the control of the sea, to sea power in the 
hands of the French, and its improper distribution 
by the English authorities. This assertion may be 
safely rested on the authority of the one man who, 
above all others, thoroughly knew the resources of 
the country, the temper of the people, the difficulties 
of the struggle, and whose name is still the highest 
warrant for sound, quiet, unfluttered good sense and 

The keynote to all Washington's utterances is set 
in the " Memorandum for concerting a plan of 
operations with the French army," dated July 15, 
1780, and sent by the hands of Lafayette: 

" The Marquis de Lafayette will be pleased to 
communicate the following general ideas to Count 
de Rochambeau and the Chevalier de Ternay, as 
the sentiments of the underwritten: 

" I. In any operation, and under all circum- 
stances, a decisive naval superiority is to be con- 
sidered as a fundamental principle, and the basis 

170 Pan II: Sea Power in History 

upon which every hope of success must ultimately 

This, however, though the most formal and 
decisive expression of Washington's views, is but 
one among many others equally distinct. 


. . . The seamen and the navy of France were 
swept away by the same current of thought and 
feeling which was carrying before it the whole 
nation; and the government, tossed to and fro by 
every wave of popular emotion, was at once too , 
weak and too ignorant of the needs of the service 
to repress principles and to amend defects which 
were fatal to its healthy life. 

It is particularly instructive to dwell upon this 
phase of the revolutionary convulsions of France, 
because the result in this comparatively small, but 
still most important, part of the body politic was so 
different from that which was found elsewhere. 
Whatever the mistakes, the violence, the excesses 
of every kind, into which this popular rising was 
betrayed, they were symptomatic of strength, not 
of weakness, deplorable accompaniments of a 
movement which, with all its drawbacks, was 
marked by overwhelming force. 

It was the inability to realize the might in this 
outburst of popular feeling, long pent up, that 
caused the mistaken forecasts of many statesmen 
of the day; who judged of the power and reach of 
the movement by indications such as the finances, 
the condition of the army, the quality of the known 

"Types of Naval Officers," pp. 35-37, 41. 

17J Part II: Sea Power in History 

leaders ordinarily fairly accurate tests of a coun- 
try's endurance, but which utterly misled those who 
looked to them only and did not take into account 
the mighty impulse of a whole nation stirred to its 
depths. Why, then, was the result so different in 
the navy? Why was it so weak, not merely nor 
chiefly in quantity, but in quality? and that, too, in 
days so nearly succeeding the prosperous naval era 
of Louis XVI. Why should the same throe which 
brought forth the magnificent armies of Napoleon 
have caused the utter weakness of the sister serv- 
ice, not only amid the disorders of the Republic, 
but also under the powerful organization of the 

The immediate reason was that, to a service of 
a very special character, involving special exigencies, 
calling for special aptitudes, and consequently de- 
manding special knowledge of its requirements in 
order to deal wisely with it, were applied the 
theories of men wholly ignorant of those require- 
ments, men who did not even believe that they 
existed. Entirely without experimental knowledge, 
or any other kind of knowledge, of the conditions of 
sea life, they were unable to realize the obstacles 
to those processes by which they would build up 
their navy, and according to which they proposed 
to handle it. This was true not only of the wild 
experiments of the early days of the Republic; the 
reproach may fairly be addressed to the great em- 
peror himself, that he had scarcely any appreciation 
of the factors conditioning efficiency at sea ; nor did 
he seemingly ever reach any such sense of them as 

French Navy Demoralized by the Revolution 173 

would enable him to understand why the French 
navy failed. " Disdaining," says Jean Bon Saint- 
Andre, the Revolutionary commissioner whose in- 
fluence on naval organization was unbounded, ** dis- 
daining, through calculation and reflection, skillful 
evolutions, perhaps our seamen will think it more 
fitting and useful to try those boarding actions in 
which the Frenchman was always conqueror, and 
thus astonish Europe by new prodigies of valor." 1 
" Courage and audacity," says Captain Chevalier, 
" had become in his eyes the only qualities necessary 
to our officers." " The English," said Napoleon, 
" will become very small when France shall have 
two or three admirals willing to die." 2 So com- 
mented, with pathetic yet submissive irony, the ill- 
fated admiral, Villeneuve, upon whom fell the 
weight of the emperor's discontent with his navy: 
" Since his Majesty thinks that nothing but audacity 
and resolve are needed to succeed in the naval 
officer's calling, I shall leave nothing to be desired." 3 
... In truth men's understandings, as well as 
their morale and beliefs, were in a chaotic state. In 
the navy, as in society, the morale suffered first. 
Insubordination and mutiny, insult and murder, pre- 
ceded the blundering measures which in the end 
destroyed the fine personnel that the monarchy be- 
queathed to the French republic. This insubordina- 
tion broke out very soon after the affairs of the 
Bastille and the forcing of the palace at Versailles; 
that is, very soon after the powerlessness of the 

1 Chevalier, " Mar. Fran, sous la Republique," p. 49. 

1 Nap. to Decres, Aug. 29, 1805. 

8 Troude, " Batailles Nav.," Vol. Ill, p. 370. 

174 Part II: Sea Power in History 

executive was felt. Singularly, yet appropriately, 
the first victim was the most distinguished flag- 
officer of the French navy. 1 

During the latter half of 1789 disturbances 
occurred in all the seaport towns; in Havre, in 
Cherbourg, in Brest, in Rochefort, in Toulon. 
Everywhere the town authorities meddled with the 
concerns of the navy yards and of the fleet, discon- 
tented seamen and soldiers, idle or punished, rushed 
to the town halls with complaints against their 
officers. The latter, receiving no support from 
Paris, yielded continually, and things naturally went 
from bad to worse. 

i 1 Commodore de Rions, a member of the nobility, who was im- 
prisoned at Toulon and afterward 8ed from the country. EDITOR. 

22. HOWE'S VICTORY OF JUNE i, 1794* 

[pRIOR to the engagement, the French fleet had 
A met and was convoying to port 180 vessels from 
America with food-stuffs of which France was then 
in dire need. The British fleet encountered the 
French 400 miles west of Ushant on May 28, and 
in the four days of maneuvering and pursuit which 
followed, Howe displayed marked energy and 
tactical skill. Though the French fleet was de- 
feated in the ensuing battle, it covered the escape of 
the convoy. EDITOR.] 

The French admiral on the evening of the 29th 
saw that he now must fight, and at a disadvantage ; 
consequently, he could not hope to protect the con- 
voy. As to save this was his prime object, the next 
best thing was to entice the British out of its path. 
With this view he stood away to the northwest; 
while a dense fog coming on both favored his design 
and prevented further encounter during the two en- 
suing days, throughout which Howe continued to 
pursue. In the evening of May 31 the weather 
cleared, and at daybreak the next morning the 
enemies were in position, ready for battle, two long 

1 "Types of Naval Officers," pp. 308-317. The "Glorious First of 
June" is one of the most important naval actions in the wars of the 
French Revolution, and illustrates the work of an officer who stood in 
his own day conspicuously at the head of his profession. The selection 
is interesting also as showing that, when it suited his purpose, Admiral 
Mahan could write with notable ease and pictorial vigor. EDITOR. 

176 Part II: Sea Power in History 

columns of ships, heading west, the British twenty- 
five, the French again twenty-six through the junc- 
tion of the four vessels mentioned. Howe now had 
cause to regret his absent six, and to ponder Nelson's 
wise saying, " Only numbers can annihilate." 

This time for maneuvering was past. Able tac- 
tician as he personally was, and admirable as had 
been the direction of his efforts in the two days' 
fighting, Howe had been forced in them to realize 
two things, namely, that his captains were, singly, 
superior in seamanship, and their crews in gunnery, 
to the French ; and again, that in the ability to work 
together as a fleet the British were so deficient as 
to promise very imperfect results, if he attempted 
any but the simplest formation. To such, therefore, 
he resorted; falling back upon the old, unskillful, 
sledge-hammer fashion of the British navy. Ar- 
ranging his ships in one long line, three miles from 
the enemy, he made them all go down together, 
each to attack a specified opponent, coming into 
action as nearly as might be at the same instant. 
Thus the French, from the individual inferiority of 
the units of their fleet, would be at all points over- 
powered. The issue justified the forecast; but the 
manner of performance was curiously and happily 
marked by Howe's own peculiar phlegm. There 
was a long summer day ahead for fighting, and no 
need for hurry. The order was first accurately 
formed, and canvas reduced to proper proportions. 
Then the crews went to breakfast. After breakfast, 
the ships all headed for the hostile line, under short 
sail, the admiral keeping them in hand during the 

Howe's Victory of June 1, 1794 177 

approach as an infantry officer dresses his company. 
Hence the shock from end to end was so nearly 
simultaneous as to induce success unequalled in any 
engagement conducted on the same primitive plan. 

Picturesque as well as sublime, animating as well 
as solemn, on that bright Sunday morning, was this 
prelude to the stern game of war about to be played : 
the quiet summer sea stirred only by a breeze suffi- 
cient to cap with white the little waves that ruffled 
its surface ; the dark hulls gently rippling the water 
aside in their slow advance, a ridge of foam curling 
on either side of the furrow ploughed by them in 
their onward way; their massive sides broken by 
two, or at times three, rows of ports, whence, the 
tompions drawn, yawned the sullen lines of guns, 
behind which, unseen, but easily realized by the in- 
structed eye, clustered the groups of ready seamen 
who served each piece. Aloft swung leisurely to 
and fro the tall spars, which ordinarily, in so light 
a wind, would be clad in canvas from deck to truck, 
but whose naked trimness now proclaimed the 
deadly purpose of that still approach. Upon the 
high poops, where floated the standard of either 
nation, gathered round each chief the little knot of 
officers through whom commands were issued and 
reports received, the nerves along which thrilled the 
impulses of the great organism, from its head, the 
admiral, through every member to the dark lowest 
decks, nearly awash, where, as farthest from the 
captain's own oversight, the senior lieutenants con- 
trolled the action of the ships' heaviest batteries. 

On board the Queen Charlotte, Lord Howe, 

Part II: Sea Power in History 

whose burden of sixty-eight years had for four days 
found no rest save what he could snatch in an arm- 
chair, now, at the prospect of battle, " displayed 
an animation," writes an eye-witness, " of which, 
at his age, and after such fatigue of body and mind, 
I had not thought him capable. He seemed to con- 
template the result as one of unbounded satis- 
faction.** By his side stood his fleet-captain, Curtis, 
of whose service among the floating batteries, and 
during the siege of Gibraltar, the governor of the 
fortress had said, " He is the man to whom the king 
is chiefly indebted for its security;*' and Codring- 
ton, then a lieutenant, who afterwards commanded 
the allied fleets at Navarino. Five ships to the left, 
Collingwood, in the Barfleur, was making to the 
admiral whose flag she bore the remark that stirred 
Thackeray : " Our wives are now about going to 
church, but we will ring about these Frenchmen's 
ears a peal which will drown their bells." The 
French officers, both admirals and captains, were 
mainly unknown men, alike then and thereafter. 
The fierce flames of the Revolution had swept away 
the men of the old school, mostly aristocrats, and 
time had not yet brought forward the very few 
who during the Napoleonic period showed marked 
capacity. The commander-in-chief, Villaret-Joyeuse, 
had three years before been a lieutenant. He had 
a high record for gallantry, but was without ante- 
cedents as a general officer. With him, on the poop 
"t the Montagne, which took her name from Robes- 
pierre's political supporters, stood that anomalous 
companion of the generals and admirals of the day, 

Howe's Victory of June 1, 1794 179 

the Revolutionary commissioner, Jean Bon Saint- 
Andre, about to learn by experience the practical 
working of the system he had advocated, to dis- 
regard all tests of ability save patriotism and cour- 
age, depreciating practice and skill as unnecessary 
to the valor of the true Frenchman. 

As the British line drew near the French, Howe 
said to Curtis, " Prepare the signal for close action." 
" There is no such signal," replied Curtis. " No," 
said the admiral, " but there is one for closer action, 
and I only want that to be made in case of captains 
not doing their duty." Then closing a little signal 
book he always carried, he continued to those 
around him, " Now, gentlemen, no more book, no 
more signals. I look to you to do the duty of the 
Queen Charlotte in engaging the flag-ship. I don't 
want the ships to be bilge to bilge, but if you can 
lock the yardarms, so much the better; the battle 
will be the quicker decided." His purpose was to 
go through the French line, and fight the Montagne 
on the far side. Some doubted their succeeding, 
but Howe overbore them. " That 's right, my 
lord! " cried Bowen, the sailing-master, who looked 
to the ship's steering. " The Charlotte will make 
room for herself." She pushed close under the 
French ship's stern, grazing her ensign, and raking 
her from stern to stem with a withering fire, be- 
neath which fell three hundred men. A length or 
two beyond lay the French Jacobin. Howe ordered 
the Charlotte to luff, and place herself between the 
two. " If we do," said Bowen, " we shall be on 
board one of them." " What is that to you, sir? " 

180 Pan II: Sea Power in History 

asked Howe quickly. " Oh! " muttered the master, 
not inaudibly. " D n my eyes if I care, if you 
don't. I '11 go near enough to singe some of our 
whiskers." And then, seeing by the Jacobin's rud- 
der that she was going off, he brought the Charlotte 
sharp round, her jib boom grazing the second 
Frenchman as her side had grazed the flag of the 

From this moment the battle raged furiously 
from end to end of the field for nearly an hour, 
a wild scene of smoke and confusion, under cover 
of which many a fierce ship duel was fought, while 
here and there men wandered, lost, in a maze of 
bewilderment that neutralized their better judg- 
ment. An English naval captain tells a service 
tradition of one who was so busy watching the com- 
pass, to keep his position in the ranks, that he lost 
sight of his antagonist, and never again found him. 
Many a quaint incident passed, recorded or un- 
recorded, under that sulphurous canopy. A British 
ship, wholly dismasted, lay between two enemies, 
her captain desperately wounded. A murmur of 
surrender was somewhere heard; but as the first 
lieutenant checked it with firm authority, a cock flew 
upon the stump of a mast and crowed lustily. The 
exultant note found quick response in hearts not 
given to despair, and a burst of merriment, accom- 
panied with three cheers, replied to the bird's 
triumphant scream. On board the Brunswick^ in 
her struggle with the Vengeur, one of the Ion 
and fiercest fights the sea has ever seen, the cocked 
hat was shot off the effigy of the Duke of Brunswick, 

Howe's Victory of June 1, 1794 181 

which she bore as a figure-head. A deputation from 
the crew gravely requested the captain to allow the 
use of his spare chapeau, which was securely nailed 
on, and protected his grace's wig during the rest of 
the action. After this battle with the ships of the 
new republic, the partisans of monarchy noted with 
satisfaction that, among the many royal figures that 
surmounted the stems of the British fleet, not one 
lost his crown. Of a harum-scarum Irish captain 
are told two droll stories. After being hotly en- 
gaged for some time with a French ship, the fire of 
the latter slackened, and then ceased. He called to 
know if she had surrendered. The reply was, 
"No." "Then," shouted he, " d n you, why 
don't you fire?" Having disposed of his special 
antagonist without losing his own spars, the same 
man kept along in search of new adventures, until 
he came to a British ship totally dismasted and 
otherwise badly damaged. She was commanded by 
a captain of rigidly devout piety. " Well, Jemmy," 
hailed the Irishman, "you are pretty well mauled; 
but never mind, Jemmy, whom the Lord loveth he 

The French have transmitted to us less of 
anecdote, nor is it easy to connect the thought of 
humor with -hose grimly earnest republicans and the 
days of the Terror. There is, indeed, something un- 
intentionally funny in the remark of the commander 
of one of the captured ships to his captors. They 
had, it was true, dismasted half the French fleet, 
and had taken over a fourth; yet he assured them 
it could not be considered a victory, " but merely 

182 Part II: Sea Power in History 

a butchery, in which the British had shown neither 
science nor tactics." The one story, noble and en- 
during, that will ever be associated with the French 
on the ist of June is in full keeping with the temper 
of the times and the enthusiasm of the nation. The 
seventy- four-gun ship Vengeur, after a three hours' 
fight, yardarm to yardarm, with the British Bruns- 
wick, was left in a sinking state by her antagonist, 
who was herself in no condition to help. In the con- 
fusion, the Vengeur*s peril was for some time not 
observed; and when it was, the British ships that 
came to her aid had time only to remove part of 
her survivors. In their report of the event the 
latter said: " Scarcely had the boats pulled clear of 
the sides, when the most frightful spectacle was 
offered to our gaze. Those of our comrades who 
remained on board the Vengeur du Peuple, with 
hands raised to heaven, implored, with lamentable 
cries, the help for which they could no longer hope. 
Soon disappeared the ship and the unhappy victims 
it contained. In the midst of the horror with which 
this scene inspired us all, we could not avoid a feel- 
ing of admiration mingled with our grief. As we 
drew away, we heard some of our comrades still 
offering prayers for the welfare of their countrv. 
The last cries of these unfortunates were, * Vive 1 i 
Rcpubliquc!' They died uttering them." O\ < 
hundred Frenchmen thus went down. 

Seven French ships were captured, including the 
sunk Vengeur. Five more were wholly dismasted, 
but escaped, a good fortune mainly to be attrib- 
uted to Howe's utter physical prostration, due to 

Howe's Victory of June 1, 1794 183 

his advanced years and the continuous strain of the 
past five days. He now went to bed, completely 
worn out. " We all got round him,'* wrote an 
officer, Lieutenant Codrington, who was present; 
" indeed, I saved him from a tumble, he was so 
weak that from a roll of the ship he was nearly 
falling into the waist. c Why, you hold me up as if I 
were a child,' he said good-humoredly." Had he 
been younger, there can be little doubt that the fruits 
of victory would have been gathered with an ardor 
which his assistant, Curtis, failed to show. 


[ T\ 1800 Russia, Sweden, and Denmark, under the 
* manipulation of Napoleon, formed a " League 
of Armed Neutrality ** to resist British restrictions 
on their trade with France. To reinforce diplo- 
matic pressure, Great Britain sent against the league 
a fleet of twenty ships, of which Nelson was second 
in command under Sir Hyde Parker. Throughout 
the campaign, writes Mahan, Nelson " lifted and 
carried on his shoulders the dead weight of his 
superior.** EDITOR.] 

The fleet sailed from Yarmouth on the I2th of 
March, 1801; and on the nyth, although there had 
been some scattering in a heavy gale, nearly all were 
collected off the Skaw, the northern point of Jutland 
at the entrance of the Kattegat. The wind being 
northwest was fair for going to Copenhagen, and 
Nelson, if in command, would have advanced at 
once with the ambassador on board. " While the 
negotiation is going on,** he said, " the Dane should 
see our flag waving every moment he lifted his 
head.** As it was, the envoy went forward with a 
frigate alone and the fleet waited. On the nth it 
was off Elsineur, where the envoy rejoined, Den- 
mark having rejected the British terms. 

1 "The Influence of Sea Power upon the French Revolution and Em- 
pire," Vol. H, pp. 42-47. The campaign is treated more fully in "The 
Life of NebooT Vol. 11, p. 70 /. EDITOR. 





Nelson's Strategy at Copenhagen 185 

This amounted to an acceptance of hostilities, and 
it only remained to the commander-in-chief to act 
at once; for the wind was favorable, an advantage 
which at any moment might be lost. On this day 
Nelson addressed Parker a letter, summing up in 
a luminous manner the features of the situation 
and the different methods of action. " Not a mo- 
ment should be lost in attacking," he said; " we shall 
never be so good a match for them as at this mo- 
ment." He next hinted, what he had probably 
already said, that the fleet ought to have been off 
Copenhagen, and not at Elsineur, when the negotia- 
tion failed. :< Then you might instantly attack and 
there would be scarcely a doubt but the Danish fleet 
would be destroyed, and the capital made so hot 
that Denmark would listen to reason and its true 
interest." Since, however, the mistake of losing so 
much time had been made, he seeks to stir his su- 
perior to lose no more. " Almost the safety, cer- 
tainly the honor, of England is more entrusted to 
you than ever yet fell to the lot of any British 
officer; . . . never did our country depend so much 
on the success of any fleet as of this." 

Having thus shown the necessity for celerity, 
Nelson next discussed the plan of operations. 
Copenhagen is on the east side of the island of 
Zealand, fronting the coast of Sweden, from which 
it is separated by the passage called the Sound. On 
the west the island is divided from the other parts 
of Denmark by the Great Belt. The navigation 
of the latter being much the more difficult, the 
preparations of the Danes had been made on the 

186 Part II: Sea Power in History 

side of the Sound, and chiefly about Copenhagen 
itself. For half a mile from the shore in front of 
the city, flats extend, and in the Sound itself, at a 
distance of little over a mile, is a long shoal called 
the Middle Ground. Between these two bodies of 
shallow water is a channel, called the King's, 
through which a fleet of heavy ships could sail, and 
from whose northern end a deep pocket stretches 
toward Copenhagen, forming the harbor proper. 
The natural point of attack therefore appears to 
be at the north; and there the Danes had erected 
powerful works, rising on piles out of the shoal 
water off the harbor's mouth and known as the 
Three-Crown Batteries. Nelson, however, pointed 
out that not only was this head of the line exceed- 
ingly strong, but that the wind that was fair to 
attack would be foul to return; therefore a disabled 
ship would have no escape but by passing through 
the King's Channel. Doing so she would have to 
run the gantlet of a line of armed hulks, which the 
Danes had established as floating batteries along 
the inner edge of the channel covering the front 
of Copenhagen and would also be separated 
from her fleet. Nor was this difficulty, which may 
be called tactical, the only objection to a plan that 
he disparaged as " taking the bull by the horns." 
He remarked that so long as the British fleet re- 
mained in the Sound, without entering the Baltic, 
the way was left open for both the Swedes and the 
Russians, if released by the ice, to make a junction 
with the Danes. Consequently, he advised that a 
sufficiently strong force of the lighter ships-of-the- 

Nelson's Strategy at Copenhagen 187 

line should pass outside the Middle Ground, de- 
spite the difficulties of navigation, which were not 
insuperable, and come up in rear of the city. There 
they would interpose between the Danes and their 
allies, and be in position to assail the weaker part 
of the hostile order. He offered himself to lead 
this detachment, 

This whole letter of March 24, iSoi, 1 possesses 
peculiar interest; for it shows with a rare particu- 
larity, elicited by the need he felt of arousing and 
convincing his superior, Nelson's clear discernment 
of the decisive features of a military situation. The 
fame of this great admiral has depended less upon 
his conduct of campaigns than upon the renowned 
victories he won in the actual collision of fleet with 
fleet ; and even then has been mutilated by the obsti- 
nacy with which, despite the perfectly evident facts, 
men have persistedin seeing in them nothing but dash, 
heart, not head. Throughout his correspondence, 
it is true, there are frequent traces of the activity 
of his mental faculties and of the general accuracy 
of his military conclusions; but ordinarily it is from 
his actions that his reasonings and principles must 
be deduced. In the present case we have the views 
he held and the course he evidently would have 
pursued clearly formulated by himself; and it cannot 
but be a subject of regret that the naval world 
should have lost so fine an illustration as he would 
there have given of the principles and conduct of 
naval warfare. He concluded his letter with a sug- 
gestion worthy of Napoleon himself, and which, if 

1 Nelson's Letters and Dispatches, Vol. IV, p. 295. 

Part II: Sea Power in History 

adopted, would have brought down the Baltic Con- 
federacy with a crash that would have resounded 
throughout Europe. " Supposing us through the 
Belt with the wind first westerly, would it not be 
possible to go with the fleet, or detach ten ships of 
three and two decks, with one bomb and two fire- 
ships, to Revel, to destroy the Russian squadron at 
that place? I do not see the great risk of such a 
detachment, and with the remainder to attempt the 
business at Copenhagen. The measure may be 
thought bold, but I am of opinion the boldest are 
the safest; and our country demands a most vigor- 
ous exertion of her force, directed with judgment." 
Committed as the Danes were to a stationary 
defense, th^s recommendation to strike at the soul of 
the confederacy evinced the clearest perception of 
the key to the situation, which Nelson himself 
summed up in the following words : " I look upon 
the Northern League to be like a tree, of which 
Paul was the trunk and Sweden and Denmark the 
branches. If I can get at the trunk and hew it 
down, the branches fall of course; but I may lop the 
branches and yet not be able to fell the tree, and my 
power must be weaker when its greatest strength 
is required " * that is, the Russians should have 
been attacked before the fleet was weakened, as it 
inevitably must be, by the battle with the Danes. 
11 If we could have cut up the Russian fleet," he 
said again, " that was my object." Whatever Den- 
mark's wishes about fighting, she was by her con- 
tinental possessions tied to the policy of Russia and 

1 Nelson's Dispatches, Vol. IV., p. 355. 

Nelson's Strategy at Copenhagen 189 

Prussia, either of whom could overwhelm her by 
land. She dared not disregard them. The course 
of both depended upon the czar; for the tempo- 
rizing policy of Prussia would at once embrace his 
withdrawal from the league as an excuse for doing 
the same. At Revel were twelve Russian ships-of- 
the-line, fully half their Baltic fleet, whose destruc- 
tion would have paralyzed the remainder and the 
naval power of the empire. To persuade Parker 
to such a step was, however, hopeless. " Our fleet 
would never have acted against Russia and Sweden,'* 
wrote Nelson afterwards, " although Copenhagen 
would have been burned; for Sir Hyde Parker was 
determined not to leave Denmark hostile in his 
rear;" 1 a reason whose technical accuracy under 
all the circumstances was nothing short of pedantic, 
and illustrates the immense distance between a good 
and accomplished officer, which Parker was, and a 
genius whose comprehension of rules serves only to 
guide, not to fetter, his judgment. 

Although unable to rise equal to the great oppor- 
tunity indicated by Nelson, Sir Hyde Parker adopted 
his suggestion as to the method and direction of the 
principal attack upon the defenses of Copenhagen. 
For this, Nelson asked ten ships-of-the-line and a 
number of smaller vessels, with which he undertook 
to destroy the floating batteries covering the front 
of the city. These being reduced, the bomb vessels 
could be placed so as to play with effect upon the 
dockyard, arsenals, and the town, in case further 
resistance was made. 

1 Nelson's Dispatches, April 9, 1801, Vol. IV, pp. 339, 34*- 

190 Part II: Sea Power in History 

[The fleet entered the Sound and anchored off 
Copenhagen on March 26. On April 2 Nelson 
attacked from the southward as he had suggested, 
and after a hard-fought battle forced a fourteen 
weeks' armistice which practically secured the Brit- 
ish aims, since it gave opportunity to proceed against 
Sweden and Russia. Nelson was given chief com- 
mand on May 5, and two days later sailed for 
Revel, but the death of the Czar Paul had already 
brought a favorable change in Russia's policy and 
made further action unnecessary. EDITOR.] 


[ A FTER the Copenhagen campaign, for a brief 
periodin 1 8oi,>Nelson commanded the naval de- 
fense forces in the Channel. When, after two years 
of peace, hostilities were renewed in 1803, he sailed 
in the Victory to take command in the Mediter- 
ranean. During the following years of the war, 
' The British squadrons, hugging the French coasts 
and blocking the French arsenals, were the first line 
of defense, covering British interests from the Baltic 
to Egypt, the British colonies in the four quarters 
of the globe, and the British merchantmen which 
whitened every sea." 2 EDITOR.] 

Meanwhile that period of waiting from May, 
1803, to August, 1805, when the tangled net of 
naval and military movements began to unravel, was 
a striking and wonderful pause in the world's his- 
tory. On the heights above Boulogne, and along 
the narrow strip of beach from Etaples to Vimereux, 
were encamped one hundred and thirty thousand of 
the most brilliant soldiery of all time, the soldiers 
who had fought in Germany, Italy, and Egypt, 
soldiers who were yet to win, from Austria, Ulm 
and Austerlitz, and from Prussia, Auerstadt and 
Jena, to hold their own, though barely, at Eylau 

1 "The Influence of Sea Power upon the French Revolution and 
Empire," Vol. II, pp. 117-120. 

2 Ibid., p. 106. 

192 Part II: Sea Power in History 

against the army of Russia, and to overthrow it 
also, a few months later, on the bloody field of 
Friedland. Growing daily more vigorous in the 
bracing sea air and the hardy life laid out for them, 
they could on fine days, as they practised the varied 
maneuvers which were to perfect the vast host in 
embarking and disembarking with order and rapid- 
ity, see the white cliffs fringing the only country that 
to the last defied their arms. Far away, Cotnwallis 
off Brest, Collingwood off Rochefort, Pelkw off 
Ferrol, were battling the wild gales of the Bay of 
Biscay, in that tremendous and sustained vigilance 
which reached its utmost tension in the years pre- 
ceding Trafalgar, concerning which Collingwood 
wrote that admirals need to be made of iron, but 
which was forced upon them by the unquestionable 
and imminent danger of the country. Farther dis- 
tant still, severed apparently from all connection 
with the busy scene at Boulogne, Nelson before 
Toulon was wearing away the last two years of his 
glorious but suffering life, fighting the fierce north- 
westers of the Gulf of Lyon and questioning, ques- 
tioning continually with feverish anxiety, whether 
Napoleon's object was Egypt again or Great Brit- 
ain really. They were dull, weary, eventless 
months, those months of watching and waiting of 
the big ships before the French arsenals. Purpose- 
less they surely seemed to many, but they saved 
England. The world has never seen a more im- 
pressive demonstration of the influence of sea power 
upon its history. Those far distant, storm-beaten 
ships, upon which the Grand Army never looked, 

England's First Line of Defense 193 

stood between it and the dominion of the world. 
Holding the interior positions they did, before 
and therefore between the chief dockyards and 
detachments of the French navy, the latter could 
unite only by a concurrence of successful evasions, 
of which the failure of any one nullified the result. 
Linked together as the various British fleets were 
by chains of smaller vessels, chance alone could 
secure Bonaparte's great combination, which de- 
pended upon the covert concentration of several de- 
tachments upon a-point practically within the enemy's 
lines. Thus, while bodily present before Brest, 
Rochefort, and Toulon, strategically the British 
squadrons lay in the Straits of Dover barring the 
way against the Army of Invasion. 

The Straits themselves, of course, were not with- 
out their own special protection. Both they and 
their approaches, in the broadest sense of the term, 
from the Texel to the Channel Islands, were 
patrolled by numerous frigates and smaller vessels, 
from one hundred to a hundred and fifty in all. 
These not only watched diligently all that happened 
in the hostile harbors and sought to impede the 
movements of the flat-boats, but also kept touch 
with and maintained communication between the 
detachments of ships-of-the-line. Of the latter, five 
off the Texel watched the Dutch navy, while others 
were anchored off points of the English coast with 
reference to probable movements of the enemy. 
Lord St. Vincent, whose ideas on naval strategy 
were clear and sound, though he did not use the 
technical terms of the art, discerned and provided 

194 Part II: Sea Power in History 

against the very purpose entertained by Bonaparte, 
of a concentration before Boulogne by ships drawn 
from the Atlantic and Mediterranean. The best 
security, the most advantageous strategic positions, 
were doubtless those before the enemy's ports; and 
never in the history of blockades has there been 
excelled, if ever equalled, the close locking of Brest 
by Admiral Cornwallis, both winter and summer, 
between the outbreak of war and the battle of 
Trafalgar. It excited not only the admiration but 
the wonder of contemporaries. 1 In case, however, 
the French at Brest got out, so the prime minister 
of the day informed the speaker of the House, 
Cornwallis's rendezvous was off the Lizard (due 
north of Brest), so as to go for Ireland, or follow 
the French up Channel, if they took either direc- 
tion. Should the French run for the Downs, the 
five sail-of-the-line at Spithead would also follow 
them; and Lord Keith (in the Downs) would in 
addition to his six, and six block ships, have also 
the North Sea fleet at his command. 2 Thus pro- 
vision was made, in case of danger, for the outlying 
detachments to fall back on the strategic center, 
gradually accumulating strength, till they formed a 
body of from twenty-five to thirty heavy and dis- 
ciplined ships-of-the-line, sufficient to meet all prob- 
able contingencies. 

Hence, neither the Admiralty nor British naval 
officers in general shared the fears of the country 

1 See "Naval Chronicle," Vol. X, pp. 508, 510; Vol. XI, p. 81; Nel- 
son's Dispatches, Vol. V, p. 438. 

1 I'cllcw's "Life of Lord Sidmotith," Vol. II, p. 237. 

England's First Line of Defense 195 

concerning the peril from the flotilla. " Our first 
defense," wrote Nelson in 1801, " is close to the 
enemy's ports; and the Admiralty have taken such 
precautions, by having such a respectable force 
under my orders, that I venture to express a well- 
grounded hope that the enemy would be annihilated 
before they get ten miles from their own shores." 1 

1 Nelson's Dispatches, Vol. IV, p. 452. 


[VfTHILE Napoleon's plans for control of the 
Channel underwent many changes, the move- 
ments actually carried out were as follows: On 
March 27, Villeneuve with eighteen ships left 
Toulon and sailed for the West Indies, arriving at 
Martinique May 1 2, where he was to be joined by the 
Brest fleet. Baffled at first by head winds and un- 
certainty as to the enemy's destination, Nelson 
reached Barbados twenty-three days later. 

Learning of his arrival, Villeneuve at once sailed 
for Europe, on June 9, again followed, four days 
later by Nelson. The brig Curieux, despatched by 
Nelson to England on the I2th, sighted the enemy 
fleet and reported its approach to the Admiralty, 
thus enabling Calder to meet Villeneuve in an in- 
decisive action on July 22 off Ferrol, Spain. Nelson 
steered for Gibraltar, and thence, having learned 
that Villeneuve was to the northward, for the 
Channel, where on August 1 5 he left his ships with 
the Channel fleet under Cornwallis. 

The French now had twenty-one ships at Brest 
and twenty-nine under Villeneuve at Ferrol, while 
Cornwallis stood between with. thirty-four or thirty- 
five. An effective French combination was still pos- 
sible, especially as Cornwallis made the cardinal 

"The Influence of Sea Power upon the French Revolution and 
Empire," Vol. II, pp. 184-197, 199-202, 356-357- 

- ,i! 

The Battle of Trafalgar 197 

error of dividing his fleet. Accordingly, Villeneuve, 
under an imperative summons from Napoleon, left 
Ferrol on August 13 ; but, with his ships demoralized 
by their long cruise, with head winds, and disturbed 
by false reports from a Danish merchantman re- 
garding the British strength, the French admiral 
two days later turned for Cadiz. Here he was 
watched by Collingwood; and on September 28 
Nelson, after three weeks in England, took com- 
mand of the blockading fleet. " Thus ended, and 
forever," writes Mahan, " Napoleon's profoundly 
conceived and laboriously planned scheme for the 
invasion of England. If it be sought to fix a definite 
moment which marked the final failure of so vast 
a plan, that one may well be chosen when Villeneuve 
made signal to bear up for Cadiz." J On August 25 
the Boulogne army broke camp and marched against 
the Austrian forces advancing toward the Rhine. 

The importance attached by the emperor to his 
project was not exaggerated. He might, or he 
might not, succeed; but, if he failed against Great 
Britain, he failed everywhere. This he, with the 
intuition of genius, felt; and to this the record of 
his after history now bears witness. To the strife 
of arms with the great Sea Power succeeded the 
strife of endurance. Amid all the pomp and cir- 
cumstance of the war which for ten years to come 
desolated the Continent, amid all the tramping to 
and fro over Europe of the French armies and their 

1 "The Influence of Sea Power upon the French Revolution and 
Empire, Vol. II, p. 181. 

198 Part II: Sea Power in History 

auxiliary legions, there went on unceasingly that 
noiseless pressure upon the vitals of France, that 
compulsion, whose silence, when once noted, be- 
comes to the observer the most striking and awful 
mark of the working of Sea Power. Under it the 
resources of the Continent wasted more and more 
with each succeeding year; and Napoleon, amid all 
the splendor of his imperial position, was ever 
needy. To this, and to the immense expenditures 
required to enforce the Continental System, are to 
be attributed most of those arbitrary acts which 
made him the hated of the peoples, for whose en- 
franchisement he did so much. Lack of revenue 
and lack of credit, such was the price paid by 
Napoleon for the Continental System, through 
which alone, after Trafalgar, he hoped to crush the 
Power of the Sea. It may be doubted whether, amid 
all his glory, he ever felt secure after the failure 
of the invasion of England. To borrow his own 
vigorous words, in the address to the nation issued 
before he joined the army, " To live without com- 
merce, without shipping, without colonies, subjected 
to the unjust will of our enemies, is to live as 
Frenchmen should not." Yet so had France to live 
throughout his reign, by the will of the one enemy 
never conquered. 

On the 1 4th of September, before quitting Paris, 
Napoleon sent Villeneuve orders to take the first 
favorable opportunity to leave Cadiz, to enter the 
Mediterranean, join the ships at Cartagena, and 
with this combined force move upon southern Italy. 
There, at any suitable point, he was to land the 

The Battle of Trafalgar 199 

troops embarked in the fleet to reinforce General 
St. Cyr, who already had instructions to be ready to 
attack Naples at a moment's notice. 1 The next day 
these orders were reiterated to Decres, enforcing 
the importance to the general campaign of so power- 
ful a diversion as the presence of this great fleet in 
the Mediterranean; but, as " Villeneuve's excessive 
pusillanimity will prevent him from undertaking 
this, you will send to replace him Admiral Rosily, 
who will bear letters directing Villeneuve to return 
to France and give an account of his conduct." 2 
The emperor had already formulated his complaints 
against the admiral under seven distinct heads. 3 
On the 1 5th of September, the same day the orders 
to relieve Villeneuve were issued, Nelson, having 
spent at home only twenty-five days, left England 
for the last time. On the 28th, when he joined the 
fleet off Cadiz, he found under his command twenty- 
nine ships-of-the-line, which successive arrivals 
raised to thirty-three by the day of the battle; but, 
water running short, it became necessary to send the 
ships, by divisions of six, to fill up at Gibraltar. To 
this cause was due that only twenty-seven British 
vessels were present in the action, an unfortunate 
circumstance ; for, as Nelson said, what the country 
wanted was not merely a splendid victory, but an- 
nihilation; "numbers only can annihilate." 4 The 
force under his command was thus disposed: the 
main body about fifty miles west-south-west of 
Cadiz, seven lookout frigates close in with the port, 

1 Napoleon to St. Cyr, Sept. 2, 1805. 

s Napoleon to Decres, Sept. 15. * Ibid., Sept. 4. 

< Nelson's Dispatches, Vol. VII, p. 80. 

200 Part II: Sea Power in History 

and between these extremes, two small detachments 
of ships-of-the-line, the one twenty miles from 
the harbor, the other about thirty-five. " By this 
chain," he wrote, " I hope to have constant com- 
munication with the frigates." 

" The Nelson Touch " ' 

At 6 P.M. of Saturday, September 28, the Vic- 
tory reached the fleet, then numbering twenty- 
nine of the line; the main body being fifteen to 
twenty miles west of Cadiz, with six ships close in 
with the port. The next day was Nelson's birth- 
day forty-seven years old. The junior admirals 
and the captains visited the commander-in-chief, as 
customary, but with demonstrations of gladness and 
confidence that few leaders have elicited in equal 
measure from their followers. " The reception I 
met with on joining the fleet caused the sweetest 
sensation of my life. The officers who came on 
board to welcome my return, forgot my rank as 
commander-in-chief in the enthusiasm with which 
they greeted me. As soon as these emotions were 
past, I laid before them the plan I had previously 
arranged for attacking the enemy; and it was not 
only my pleasure to find it generally approved, 
but clearly perceived and understood." To Lady 
Hamilton he gave an account of this scene which 
differs little from the above, except in its greater 
vividness. " I believe my arrival was most welcome, 

1 The following account of Nelson's arrival and his plan of battle 
is taken from the fuller narrative in "The Life of Nelson," Vol. II, pp. 
339-351. EDITOR. 

The Battle of Trafalgar 201 

not only to the commander of the fleet, but also to 
every individual in it; and, when I came to explain 
to them the ' Nelson touch, it was like an electric 
shock. Some shed tears, all approved ' It was 
new it was singular it was simple ! ' and, from 
admirals downwards, it was repeated ' It must 
succeed, if ever they will allow us to get at them! 
You are, my Lord, surrounded by friends whom 
you inspire with confidence.' Some may be Judas's; 
but the majority are certainly much pleased with my 
commanding them." No more joyful birthday levee 
was ever held than that of this little naval court. 
Besides the adoration for Nelson personally, which 
they shared with their countrymen in general, there 
mingled with the delight of the captains the senti- 
ment of professional appreciation and confidence, 
and a certain relief, noticed by Codrington, from the 
dry, unsympathetic rule of Collingwood, a man just, 
conscientious, highly trained, and efficient, but self- 
centered, rigid, uncommunicative ; one who fostered, 
if he did not impose, restrictions upon the inter- 
course between the ships, against which he had in- 
veighed bitterly when himself one of St. Vincent's 
captains. Nelson, on the contrary, at once invited 
cordial social relations with the commanding officers. 
Half of the thirty-odd were summoned to dine on 
board the flagship the first day, and half the second. 
Not till the third did he permit himself the luxury 
of a quiet dinner chat with his old chum, the second 
in command, whose sterling merits, under a crusty 
exterior, he knew and appreciated. Codrington 
mentions also an incident, trivial in itself, but illus- 

Part II: Sea Power in History 

trative of that outward graciousness of manner, 
which, in a man of Nelson's temperament and posi- 
tion, is rarely the result of careful cultivation, but 
bespeaks rather the inner graciousness of the heart 
that he abundantly possessed. They had never met 
before, and the admiral, greeting him with his usual 
easy courtesy, handed him a letter from his wife, 
saying that being entrusted with it by a lady, he 
made a point of delivering it himself, instead of 
sending it by another. 

The " Nelson Touch," or Plan of Attack, ex- 
pounded to his captains at the first meeting, was 
afterwards formulated in an Order, copies of which 
were issued to the fleet on the 9th of October. In 
this " Memorandum," which was doubtless sufficient 
for those who had listened to the vivid oral ex- 
planation of its framer, the writer finds the sim- 
plicity, but not the absolute clearness, that they 
recognized. It embodies, however, the essential 
ideas, though not the precise method of execution, 
actually followed at Trafalgar, under conditions 
considerably different from those which Nelson 
probably anticipated; and it is not the least of its 
merits as a military conception that it could thus. 
with few signals and without confusion, adapt itself 
at a moment's notice to diverse circumstances. This 
great order not only reflects the ripened experience 
of its author, but contains also the proof of constant 
mental activity and development in his thought; for 
it differs materially in detail from the one issued a 
few months before to the fleet, when in pursuit of 
Villeneuve to the West Indies. 

The Battle of Trafalgar 203 



Victory, off CADIZ, 9th October, 1805. 

Thinking it almost impossible to bring a Fleet of 
forty Sail of the Line into a Line of Battle in vari- 
able winds, thick weather, and other circumstances 
which must occur, without such a loss of time that 
the opportunity would probably be lost of bringing 
the Enemy to Battle in such a manner as to make 
the business decisive, I have therefore made up my 
mind to keep the Fleet in that position of sailing 
(with the exception of the First and Second in Com- 
mand) that the Order of Sailing is to be the Order 
of Battle, placing the Fleet in two Lines of sixteen 
Ships each, with an Advanced Squadron of eight of 
the fastest sailing Two-decked Ships, which will 
always make, if wanted, a Line of twenty-four Sail, 
on whichever Line the Commander-in-Chief may 

The Second in Command will, after my intentions 
are made known to him, have the entire direction 
of his Line to make the attack upon the Enemy, and 
to follow up the blow until they are captured or 

If the Enemy's Fleet should be seen to wind- 
ward in Line of Battle, and that the two Lines and 
the Advanced Squadron can fetch them, they will 
probably be so extended that their Van could not 
succor their Rear. 

I should therefore probably make the Second in 
Command's signal to lead through, about their 
twelfth Ship from their Rear, (or wherever he 

204 Part II: Sea Power in History 

could fetch, if not able to get so far advanced) ; my 
Line would lead through about their Center, and 
the Advanced Squadron to cut two or three or four 
Ships a-head of their Center, so as to ensure getting 
at their Commander-in-Chief, on whom every effort 
must be made to capture. 

The whole impression of the British Fleet must 
be to overpower from two or three Ships a-head of 
their Commander-in-Chief, supposed to be in the 
Center, to the Rear of their Fleet. I will suppose 
twenty Sail of the Enemy's Line to be untouched, 
it must be some time before they could perform a 
maneuver to bring their force compact to attack 
any part of the British Fleet engaged, or to succor 
their own Ships, which indeed would be impossible 
without mixing with the Ships engaged. 

Something must be left to chance; nothing is sure 
in a Sea Fight beyond all others. Shot will carry 
away the masts and yards of friends as well as foes; 
but I look with confidence to a Victory before the 
Van of the Enemy could succor their Rear, and then 
that the British Fleet would most of them be ready 
to receive their twenty Sail of the Line, or to pursue 
them, should they endeavor to make off. 

If the Van of the Enemy tacks, the Captured 
Ships must run to leeward of the British Fleet; if 
the Enemy wears, the British must place themselves 
between the Enemy and the Captured, and disabled 
British Ships; and should the Enemy close, I have no 
fears as to the result. 

The Second in Command will in all possible 
things direct the movements of his Line, by keeping 

The Battle of Trafalgar 205 

them as compact as the nature of the circumstances 
will admit. Captains are to look to their particular 
Line as their rallying point. But, in case Signals 
can neither be seen or perfectly understood, no 
Captain can do very wrong if he places his Ship 
alongside that of an Enemy. 

Of the intended attack from to windward, the 
Enemy in Line of Battle ready to receive an attack, 

Wind. 1 
B = British. 1 
E = Enemy. 1 


The divisions of the British Fleet will be brought 
nearly within gun shot of the Enemy's Center. The 
signal will most probably then be made for the Lee 
Line to bear up together, to set all their sails, even 
steering sails, in order to get as quickly as possible 
to the Enemy's Line, and to cut through, beginning 
from the 12 Ship from the Enemy's Rear. Some 
Ships may noi get through their exact place, but 
they will always be at hand to assist their friends; 
and if any are thrown round the Rear of the Enemy, 
they will effectually complete the business of twelve 
Sail of the Enemy. 

Should the Enemy wear together, or bear up and 

1 Inserted by author. 

206 Par l II: Sea Power in History 

sail large, still the twelve Ships composing, in the 
first position, the Enemy's Rear, are to be the object 
of attack of the Lee Line, unless otherwise directed 
from the Commander-in-Chief, which is scarcely to 
be expected, as the entire management of the Lee 
Line, after the intentions of the Commander-in- 
Chief is signified, is intended to be left to the judg- 
ment of the Admiral commanding that Line. 

The remainder of the Enemy's Fleet, 34 Sail, are 
to be left to the management of the Commander-in- 
Chief who will endeavor to take care that the 
movements of the Second in Command are as little 
interrupted as is possible. 


After a statement of general considerations, and 
a frank attribution of full powers to the second in 
command for carrying out his part, Nelson lays 
down the manner of attack from to leeward. This 
condition not obtaining at Trafalgar, the plan can- 
not be contrasted with the performance of that day. 
Upon this follows a luminous enunciation of the 
general idea, namely, Collingwood's engaging the 
twelve rear ships, which underlies the method pre- 
scribed for each attack from to leeward and to 
windward. Of the latter Nelson fortunately gives 
an outline diagram, which illustrates the picture 
before his own mind, facilitating our comprehension 
of his probable expectations, and allowing a com- 
parison between them and the event as it actually 
occurred. It is not to the discredit, but greatly to 
the credit, of his conception, that it was susceptible 

The Battle of Trafalgar 207 

of large modification in practice while retaining its 
characteristic idea. 

Looking at his diagram, and following his words, 
it will be seen that the British lines are not formed 
perpendicularly to that of the enemy (as they were 
at Trafalgar), but parallel to it. Starting from this 
disposition, near the enemy and abreast his center, 
the lee line of sixteen ships was to bear up together, 
and advance in line, not in column (as happened at 
Trafalgar) ; their object being the twelve rear ships 
of the enemy. This first move stands by itself; the 
action of the weather line, and of the reserve 
squadron still farther to windward, are held in sus- 
pense under the eye of the commander-in-chief, to 
take the direction which the latter shall prescribe as 
the struggle develops. The mere menace of such a 
force, just out of gunshot to windward, would be 
sufficient to prevent any extensive maneuver of the 
unengaged enemies. Nelson doubtless had in mind 
the dispositions, more than a century old, of Tour- 
ville and De Ruyter, by which a few ships, spaced 
to windward of an enemy's van, could check its tack- 
ing, because of the raking fire to which they would 
subject it. Unquestionably, he would not have kept 
long in idle expectancy twenty-four ships, the num- 
ber he had in mind; but clearly also he proposed to 
hold them until he saw how things went with Col- 
lingwood. Thus much time would allow, granting 
the position he assumed and a reasonable breeze. 
His twenty-four to windward held an absolute check 
over the supposed thirty-four unengaged, of the 

208 Part II: Sea Power in History 

The attack as planned, therefore, differed from 
that executed ( i ) in that the lee line was not to 
advance in column, but in line, thereby dispersing 
the enemy's fire, and avoiding the terrific concen- 
tration which crushed the leaders at Trafalgar; and 
(2) in that the weather squadrons were not to at- 
tack simultaneously with the lee, but after it had 
engaged, in order to permit the remedying of any 
mishap that might arise in delivering the crucial 
blow. In both these matters of detail the plan was 
better than the modification; but the latter was 
forced upon Nelson by conditions beyond his 
control. 1 

The Battle 

Napoleon's commands to enter the Mediter- 
ranean reached Villeneuve on September 27. The 
following day, when Nelson was joining his fleet, 
the admiral acknowledged their receipt, and sub- 
missively reported his intention to obey as soon as 
the wind served. Before he could do so, accurate 
intelligence was received of the strength of Nelson's 
force, which the emperor had not known. Ville- 
neuve assembled a council of war to consider the 
situation, and the general opinion was adverse to 
sailing; but the commander-in-chief, alleging the 
orders of Napoleon, announced his determination to 
follow them. To this all submitted. An event, then 
unforeseen by Villeneuve, precipitated his action. 

Admiral Rosily's approach was known in Cadiz 

1 Here the narrative is resumed from "The Influence of Sea Power 
upon the French Revolution and Empire." EDITOR. 

The Battle of Trafalgar 209 

some time before he could arrive. It at first made 
little impression upon Villeneuve, who was not ex- 
pecting to be superseded. On the nth of October, 
however, along with the news that his successor had 
reached Madrid, there came to him a rumor of the 
truth. His honor took alarm. If not allowed to 
remain afloat, how remove the undeserved imputa- 
tion of cowardice which he knew had by some been 
attached to his name. He at once wrote to Decres 
that he would have been well content if permitted 
to continue with the fleet in a subordinate capacity; 
and closed with the words, " I will sail to-morrow, 
if circumstances favor." 

The wind next day was fair, and the combined 
fleets began to weigh. On the I9th eight ships got 
clear of the harbor, and by ten A.M. Nelson, far at 
sea, knew by signal that the long-expected movement 
had begun. He at once made sail toward the Straits 
of Gibraltar to bar the entrance of the Mediter- 
ranean to the allies. On the 2Oth, all the latter, 
thirty-three ships-of-the-line accompanied by five 
frigates and two brigs, were at sea, steering with 
a south-west wind to the northward and westward 
to gain the offing needed before heading direct for 
the Straits. That morning Nelson, for whom the 
wind had been fair, was lying to off Cape Spartel 
to intercept the enemy; and learning from his 
frigates that they were north of him, he stood in 
that direction to meet them. 

During the day the wind shifted to west, still fair 
for the British and allowing the allies, by going 
about, to head south. It was still very weak, so that 

210 Part II: Sea Power in History 

the progress of the fleets was slow. During the 
night both maneuvered; the allies to gain, the Brit- 
ish to retain, the position they wished. At daybreak 
of the 2ist they were in presence, the French and 
Spaniards steering south in five columns; of which 
the two to windward, containing together twelve 
ships, constituted a detached squadron of observa- 
tion under Admiral Gravina. The remaining twenty- 
one formed the main body, commanded by Villc- 
neuve. Cape Trafalgar, from which the battle took 
its name, was on the south-eastern horizon, ten or 
twelve miles from the allies; and the British fleet 
was at the same distance from them to the west- 

Soon after daylight Villeneuve signalled to form 
line of battle on the starboard tack, on which they 
were then sailing, heading south. In performing 
this evolution Gravina with his twelve ships took 
post in the van of the allied fleet, his own flag-ship 
heading the column. It is disputed between the 
French and Spaniards whether this step was 
taken by Villeneuve's order, or of Gravina's own 
motion. In either case, these twelve, by abandon- 
ing their central and windward position, sacrificed 
to a great extent their power to reinforce any 
threatened part of the order, and also unduly ex- 
tended a line already too long. In the end, instead 
of being a reserve well in hand, they became the 
helpless victims of the British concentration. 

At eight A.M. Villeneuve saw that battle could 
not be shunned. Wishing to have Cadiz under his 
lee in case of disaster, he ordered the combined fleet 

The Battle of Trafalgar 211 

to wear together. The signal was clumsily executed; 
but by ten all had gone round and were heading 
north in inverse order, Gravina's squadron in the 
rear. At eleven Villeneuve directed this squadron 
to keep well to windward, so as to be in position to 
succor the center, upon which the enemy seemed 
about to make his chief attack; a judicious order, 
but rendered fruitless by the purpose of the British 
to concentrate on the rear itself. When this signal 
was made, Cadiz was twenty miles distant in the 
north-north-east, and the course of the allies was 
'carrying them toward it. 

Owing to the lightness of the wind Nelson would 
lose no time in maneuvering. He formed his fleet 
rapidly in two divisions, each in single column, the 
simplest and most flexible order of attack, and the 
one whose regularity is most easily preserved. The 
simple column, however, unflanked, sacrifices dur- 
ing the critical period of closing the support given 
by the rear ships to the leader, and draws upon the 
latter the concentrated fire of the enemy's line. Its 
use by Nelson on this occasion has been much criti- 
cized. It is therefore to be remarked that, although 
his orders, issued several days previous to the battle, 
are somewhat ambiguous on this point, their natural 
meaning seems to indicate the intention, if attack- 
ing from to windward, to draw up with his fleet in 
two columns parallel to the enemy and abreast his 
rear. Then the column nearest the enemy, the lee, 
keeping away together, would advance in line against 
the twelve rear ships; while the weather column, 
moving forward, would hold in check the remain- 

L'l'J Part II: Sea Power in History 

der of the hostile fleet. In either event, whether 
attacking in column or in line, the essential feature 
of his plan was to overpower twelve of the enemy 
by sixteen British, while the remainder of his force 
covered this operation. The destruction of the rear 
was entrusted to the second in command; he himself 
with a smaller body took charge of the more un- 
certain duties of the containing force. ;< The second 
in command," wrote he in his memorable order, 
" will, after my instructions are made known to him, 
have the entire direction of his line." 

The justification of Nelson's dispositions for 
battle at Trafalgar rests therefore primarily upon 
the sluggish breeze, which would so have delayed 
formations as to risk the loss of the opportunity. 
It must also be observed that, although a column of 
ships does not possess the sustained momentum of 
a column of men, whose depth and mass combine 
to drive it through the relatively thin resistance of 
a line, and so cut the latter in twain, the results 
nevertheless are closely analogous. The leaders in 
either case are sacrificed, success is won over 
their prostrate forms; but the continued impact 
upon one part of the enemy's order is essentially 
a concentration, the issue of which, if long enough 
maintained, cannot be doubtful. Penetration, sever- 
ance, and the enveloping of one of the parted frag- 
ments, must be the result. So, exactly, it was at 
Trafalgar. It must also be noted that the rear ships 
of either column, until they reached the hostile line, 
swept with their broadsides the sea over which 
enemy's ships from either flank might try to come 

The Battle of Trafalgar 213 

to the support of the attacked center. No such at- 
tempt was in fact made from either extremity of 
the combined fleet. 

The two British columns were nearly a mile apart 
and advanced on parallel courses, heading nearly 
east, but a little to the northward to allow for the 
gradual advance in that direction of the hostile fleet. 
The northern or left-hand column, commonly called 
the " weather line " because the wind came rather 
from that side, contained twelve ships, and was led 
by Nelson himself in the Victory, a ship of one 
hundred guns. The Royal Sovereign, of the same 
size and carrying Collingwood's flag, headed the 
right column, of fifteen ships. 

To the British advance the allies opposed the 
traditional order of battle, a long single line, close- 
hauled, in this case heading north, with the wind 
from west-north-west. The distance from one flank 
to the other was nearly five miles. Owing partly 
to the lightness of the breeze, partly to the great 
number of ships, and partly to the inefficiency of 
many of the units of the fleet, the line was very 
imperfectly formed. Ships were not in their places, 
intervals were of irregular width, here vessels were 
not closed up, there two overlapped, one masking 
the other's hre. The general result was that, in- 
stead of a line, the allied order showed a curve of 
gradual sweep, convex toward the east. To the 
British approach from the west, therefore, it pre- 
sented a disposition resembling a re-entrant angle; 
and Collingwood, noting with observant eye the 
advantage of this arrangement for a cross-fire, com- 


Part II: Sea Power in History 

FRENCH, Ift^i 

27 SHIP5 

o o 




OCTOBER 9i, 1805 
5 minutes p**t OOOQ 

The French and Spanith ihipt marked + were taken or destroyed in the action. 

8. RoyJSofrcl|tn,ColHnfwood'iFI*ghip 
T. Stotitim* Trinidad 
V. Victory, NeUon'i PUgtbip 

A. tenu An*, Atart*. FUrthip 

B. Buc.ouurr, VIUnuve\ Fi.pbl 


Rwcfrt ln*Mtif>tion ht ibown that CoUlnprood't dlvUioo WM much more nearly parallel 
tb enemy than U Indicated In thii diagram, and thu in a formation more cloacly retem- 
Unf NdaoM't original plan. 

The Battle of Trafalgar 215 

mented favorably upon it in his report of the battle. 
It was, however, the result of chance, not of in- 
tention, due, not to the talent of the chief, but to 
the want of skill in his subordinates. 

The commander-in-chief of the allies, Villeneuve, 
was in the Bucentaure, an eighty-gun ship, the 
twelfth in order from the van of the line. Immedi- 
ately ahead of him was the huge Spanish four- 
decker, the Santisima Trinidad, a Goliath among 
ships, which had now come forth to her last bat- 
tle. Sixth behind the Bucentaure, and therefore 
eighteenth in the order, came a Spanish three- 
decker, the Santa Ana, flying the flag of Vice- 
Admiral Alava. These two admirals marked the 
right and left of the allied center, and upon them, 
therefore, the British leaders respectively directed 
their course, Nelson upon the Bucentaure^ Col- 
lingwood upon the Santa Ana. 

The Royal Sovereign had recently been refitted, 
and with clean new copper easily outsailed her 
more worn followers. Thus it happened that, 
as Collingwood came within range, his ship, out- 
stripping the others by three quarters of a mile, 
entered alone, and for twenty minutes endured, un- 
supported, the fire of all the hostile ships that could 
reach her. A proud deed, surely, but surely also 
not a deed to be commended as a pattern. The first 
shot of the battle was fired at her by the Fougueux, 
the next astern of the Santa Ana. This was just at 
noon, and with the opening guns the ships of both 
fleets hoisted their ensigns; the Spaniards also hang- 
ing large wooden crosses from their spanker booms. 

216 Part II: Sea Power In History 

The Royal Sovereign advanced in silence until, 
ten minutes later, she passed close under the stern 
of the Santa Ana. Then she fired a double-shotted 
broadside which struck down four hundred of the 
enemy's crew, and, luffing rapidly, took her position 
close alongside, the muzzles of the hostile guns 
nearly touching. Here the Royal Sovereign under- 
went the fire not only of her chief antagonist, but 
of four other ships; three of which belonged to the 
division of five that ought closely to have knit the 
Santa Ana to the Bucentaure, and so fixed an im- 
passable barrier to the enemy seeking to pierce the 
center. The fact shows strikingly the looseness of 
the allied order, these three being all in rear and to 
leeward of their proper stations. 

For fifteen minutes the Royal Sovereign was the 
only British ship in close action. Then her next 
astern entered the battle, followed successively by 
the rest of the column. In rear of the Santa Ana 
were fifteen ships. Among these, Collingwood's 
vessels penetrated in various directions; chiefly, 
however, at first near the spot where his flag had 
led the way, enveloping and destroying in detail the 
enemy's center and leading rear ships, and then 
passing on to subdue the rest. Much doubtless was 
determined by chance in such confusion and ob- 
scurity; but the original tactical plan ensured an 
everwhelming concentration upon a limited portion 
of the enemy's order. This being subdued with the 
less loss, because so outnumbered, the intelligence 
and skill of the various British captains readily com- 
passed the destruction of the dwindling remnant. 

The Battle of Trafalgar 217 

Of the sixteen ships, including the Santa Ana, which 
composed the allied rear, twelve were taken or 

Not till one o'clock, or nearly half an hour after 
the vessels next following Collingwood came into 
action, did the Victory reach the Bucentaure. The 
latter was raked with the same dire results that 
befell the Santa Ana; but a ship close to leeward 
blocked the way, and Nelson was not able to grapple 
with the enemy's commander-in-chief. The Victory, 
prevented from going through the line, fell on board 
the Redoutable, a French seventy-four, between 
which and herself a furious action followed, the 
two lying in close contact. At half-past one Nelson 
fell mortally wounded, the battle still raging fiercely. 

The ship immediately following Nelson's came 
also into collision with the Redoutable, which thus 
found herself in combat with two antagonists. The 
next three of the British weather column each in 
succession raked the Bucentaure, complying thus 
with Nelson's order that every effort must be made 
to capture the enemy's commander-in-chief. Pass- 
ing on, these three concentrated their efforts, first 
upon the Bucentaure, and next upon the Santisima 
Trinidad. Thus it happened that upon the allied 
commander-in-chief, upon his next ahead, and upon 
the ship which, though not his natural supporter 
astern, had sought and filled that honorable post, 
upon the key, in short, of the allied order, were 
combined under the most advantageous conditions 
the fires of five hostile vessels, three of them first- 
rates. Consequently, not only were the three added 

218 Part II: Sea Power in History 

to the prizes, but also a great breach was made 
between the van and rear of the combined fleets. 
This breach became yet wider by the singular con- 
duct of Villeneuve's proper next astern. Soon after 
the Victory came into action, that ship bore up out 
of the line, wore round, and stood toward the rear, 
followed by three others. This movement is at- 
tributed to a wish to succor the rear. If so, it was 
at best an indiscreet and ill-timed act, which finds 
little palliation in the fact that not one of these ships 
was taken. 

Thus, two hours after the battle began, the allied 
fleet was cut in two, the rear enveloped and in proc- 
ess of being destroyed in detail, the Bucentaure, 
Santisima Trinidad, and Redoutable practically re- 
duced, though not yet surrendered. Ahead of the 
Santisima Trinidad were ten ships, which as yet had 
not been engaged. The inaction of the van, though 
partly accounted for by the slackness of the wind, 
has given just cause for censure. To it, at ten 
minutes before two, Villeneuve made signal to get 
into action and to wear together. This was accom- 
plished with difficulty, owing to the heavy swell and 
want of wind. At three, however, all the ships were 
about, but by an extraordinary fatality they did not 
keep together. Five with Admiral Dumanoir stood 
along to windward of the battle, three passed to Ice- 
ward of it, and two, keeping away, left the field 
entirely. Of the whole number, three were inter- 
cepted, raising the loss of the allies to eighteen ships- 
of-the-llne taken, one of which caught fire and was 
burned. The approach of Admiral Dumanoir, if 

The Battle of Trafalgar 219 

made an hour earlier, might have conduced to save 
Villeneuve ; it was now too late. Exchanging a few 
distant broadsides with enemy's ships, he stood off 
to the south-west with four vessels ; one of those at 
first with him having been cut off. 

At quarter before five Admiral Gravina, whose 
ship had been the rear of the order during the bat- 
tle and had lost heavily, retreated toward Cadiz, 
making signal to the vessels which had not struck 
to form around his flag. Five other Spanish ships 
and five French followed him. As he was with- 
drawing, the last two to resist of the allied fleet 
struck their colors. 

During the night of the 2ist these eleven ships 
anchored at the mouth of Cadiz harbor, which they 
could not then enter, on account of a land wind from 
south-east. At the same time the British and their 
prizes were being carried shoreward by the heavy 
swell which had prevailed during the battle ; the light 
air blowing from the sea not enabling them to haul 
off. The situation was one of imminent peril. At 
midnight the wind freshened much, but fortunately 
hauled to the southward, whence it blew a gale all 
the 22d. The ships got their heads to the west- 
ward and drew off shore, with thirteen of the prizes; 
the other four having had to anchor off Cape Tra- 
falgar. That morning the Bucentaure, Villeneuve's 
late flag-ship, was wrecked on some rocks off the 
entrance to Cadiz ; and toward evening the Redout- 
able, that had so nobly supported her, was found 
to be sinking astern of the British ship that had her 
in tow. During the night of the 22d she went down 

220 Part II: Sea Power in History 

with a hundred and fifty of her people still on 
board. On the 24th the same fate befell the great 
Santisima Trinidad, which had been the French 
admiral's next ahead. Thus his own ship and his 
two supports vanished from the seas. 

For several days the wind continued violent from 
north-west and south-west. On the 23d five of the 
ships that had escaped with Gravina put out, to cut 
off some of the prizes that were near the coast. 
They succeeded in taking two; but as these were 
battered to pieces, while three of the five rescuers 
were carried on the beach and wrecked with great 
loss of life, little advantage resulted from this well- 
meant and gallant sortie. Two other prizes were 
given up to their own crews by the British prize- 
masters, because the latter were not able with their 
scanty force to save them. These got into Cadiz. 
Of the remaining British prizes, all but four either 
went ashore or were destroyed by the orders of 
Collingwood, who despaired of saving them. No 
British ship was lost. 

Of thirty-three combined French and Spanish 
ships which sailed out of Cadiz on the 2Oth of 
October, eleven, five French and six Spanish, mostly 
now disabled hulks, lay there at anchor on the last 
day of the month. The four that escaped to sea 
under Dumanoir fell in with a British squadron of 
the same size near Cape Ortegal, on the 4th of 
November, and were all taken. This raised the 
allied loss to twenty-two, two more than the 
twenty for which Nelson, in his dying hour, declared 
that he had bargained. 

The Battle of Trafalgar 221 

No attempt to move from Cadiz was again made 
by the shattered relics of the fight. On the 25th of 
October Rosily arrived and took up his now blasted 
command. Nearly three years later, when the 
Spanish monarchy, so long the submissive tool of 
the Directory and of Napoleon, had been over- 
thrown by the latter, and the Spanish people had 
risen against the usurper, the five French ships were 
still in the port. Surprised between the British 
blockade and the now hostile batteries of the coast, 
Rosily, after an engagement of two days with the 
latter, surrendered his squadron, with the four 
thousand seamen then on board. This event oc- 
curred on the i4th of June, 1808. It was the last 
echo of Trafalgar. 

Such, in its leading outlines and direct conse- 
quences, was the famous battle of Trafalgar. Its 
lasting significance and far-reaching results have 
been well stated by a recent historian, more keenly 
alive than most of his fellows to the paramount, 
though silent, influence of Sea Power upon the 
course of events : " Trafalgar was not only the 
greatest naval victory, it was the greatest and most 
momentous victory won either by land or by sea 
during the whole of the Revolutionary War. No 
victory, and no series of victories, of Napoleon 
produced the same effect upon Europe. ... A 
generation passed after Trafalgar before France 
again seriously threatened England at sea. The 
prospect of crushing the British navy, so long as 
England had the means to equip a navy, vanished. 
Napoleon henceforth set his hopes on exhausting 

Part II: Sea Power in History 

England's resources, by compelling every state on 
the Continent to exclude her commerce. Trafalgar 
forced him to impose his yoke upon all Europe, or 
to abandon the hope of conquering Great Brit- 
ain. . . . Nelson's last triumph left England in 
such a position that no means remained to injure 
her but those which must result in the ultimate 
deliverance of the Continent." 1 

These words may be accepted with very slight 
modification. Napoleon's scheme for the invasion 
of Great Britain, thwarted once and again by the 
strategic difficulties attendant upon its execution, was 
finally frustrated when Villeneuve gave up the at- 
tempt to reach Brest and headed for Cadiz. On 
the part of the allies Trafalgar was, in itself, a use- 
less holocaust, precipitated in the end by the despair 
of the unfortunate admiral, upon whose irresolu- 
tion Napoleon not unjustly visited the anger caused 
by the wreck of his plans. Villeneuve was perfectly 
clear-sighted and right in his appreciation of the 
deficiencies of his command, of the many chances 
against success. Where he wretchedly failed was 
in not recognizing the simple duty of obedience, 
the obligation to persist at all hazards in the part 
of a great scheme assigned to him, even though it 
led to the destruction of his whole force. Had he, 
upon leaving Ferrol, been visited by a little of the 
desperation which brought him to Trafalgar, the 
invasion of England might possibly not probably 
have been effected. 

An event so striking as the battle of Trafalgar 

1 Fyffe's "Hittory of Modern Europe," Vol. I, p. 281. 

The Battle of Trafalgar 223 

becomes, however, to mankind the symbol of all the 
circumstances more important, perhaps, but less 
obvious which culminate in it In this sense it 
may be said that Trafalgar was the cause as it 
certainly marked the period of Napoleon's reso- 
lution to crush Great Britain by excluding her com- 
merce from the Continent. Here, therefore, the 
story of the influence of Sea Power upon this great 
conflict ceases to follow the strictly naval events, 
and becomes concerned simply with commerce-de- 
stroying, ordinarily a secondary operation of mari- 
time war, but exalted in the later years of Na- 
poleon's reign to be the principal, if not the sole, 
means of action. 

Commerce Warfare after Trafalgar 

The warfare against commerce during the 
French Revolution, alike under the Republic and 
under Napoleon, was marked by the same pas- 
sionate vehemence, the same extreme and far-reach- 
ing conceptions, the same obstinate resolve utterly 
to overthrow and extirpate every opposing force, 
that characterized the political and military enter- 
prises of the period. In the effort to bring under 
the yoke of their own policy the commerce of the 
whole world, the two chief contestants, France and 
Great Britain, swayed back and forth in deadly 
grapple over the vast arena, trampling under foot 
the rights and interests of the weaker parties; who, 
whether as neutrals, or as subjects of friendly or 
allied powers, looked helplessly on, and found that 
in this great struggle for self-preservation, neither 

Part II: Sea Power in History 

outcries, nor threats, nor despairing submission, 
availed to lessen the pressure that was gradually 
crushing out both hope and life. The question be- 
tween Napoleon and the British people became 
simply one of endurance, as was tersely and power- 
fully shown by the emperor himself. Both were 
expending their capital, and drawing freely drafts 
upon the future, the one in money, the other in men, 
to sustain their present strength. Like two in- 
furiated dogs, they had locked jaws over commerce, 
as the decisive element in the contest. Neither 
would let go his grip until failing vitality should 
loose it, or until some bystander should deal one 
a wound through which the powers of life should 
drain away. All now know that in the latter way 
the end came. The commercial policy of the great 
monarch, who, from the confines of Europe, had 
watched the tussle with all the eagerness of self- 
interest, angered Napoleon. To enforce his will, 
he made new and offensive annexations of territory. 
The czar replied by a commercial edict, sharp and 
decisive, and war was determined. " It is all a 
scene in the Opera," wrote Napoleon, 1 " and the 
English are the scene shifters." Words failed the 
men of that day to represent the grandeur and ap- 
parent solidity of the Empire in 1811, when Na- 
poleon's heir was born. In December, 1812, it was 
shattered from turret to foundation stone; wrecked 
in the attempt " to conquer the sea by the land." 
The scene was shifted indeed. 

1 To the King of Wurtemburg, April 2, 1811; "Corr.," Vol. XXII, 
p. 19 

The Battle of Trafalgar 225 

Great Britain remained victorious on the field, 
but she had touched the verge of ruin. Confronted 
with the fixed resolution of her enemy to break 
down her commerce by an absolute exclusion from 
the continent of Europe, and as far as possible 
from the rest of the world, she met the challenge 
by a measure equally extreme, forbidding all neutral 
vessels to enter ports hostile to her, unless they had 
first touched at one of her own. Shut out herself 
from the Continent, she announced that while this 
exclusion lasted she would shut the Continent off 
from all external intercourse. " No trade except 
through England," was the formula under which 
her leaders expressed their purpose. The entrance 
of Russia into this strife, under the provocations 
of Napoleon, prevented the problem, which of 
these two policies would overthrow the other, from 
reaching a natural solution; and the final result of 
the measures which it is one object of this and the 
following chapter to narrate must remain for ever 
uncertain. It is, however, evident that a commercial 
and manufacturing country like Great Britain must, 
in a strife the essence of which was the restriction 
of trade, suffer more than one depending, as France 
did, mainly upon her internal resources. The ques- 
tion, as before stated, was whether she could endure 
the greater drain by her greater wealth. Upon the 
whole, the indications were, and to the end con- 
tinued to be, that she could do so; that Napoleon, 
in entering upon this particular struggle, miscal- 
culated his enemy's strength. 

But besides this, here, as in every contest where 

Part II: Sea Power in History 

the opponents are closely matched, where power and 
discipline and leadership are nearly equal, there was 
a further question: which of the two would make 
the first and greatest mistakes, and how ready the 
other party was to profit by his errors. In so even 
a balance, the wisest prophet cannot foresee how the 
scale will turn. The result will depend not merely 
upon the skill of the swordsman in handling his 
weapons, but also upon the wariness of his fence and 
the quickness of his returns; much, too, upon his 
temper. Here also Napoleon was worsted. Scarcely 
was the battle over commerce joined, when the up- 
rising of Spain was precipitated by overconfidence; 
Great Britain hastened at once to place herself by 
the side of the insurgents. Four years later, when 
the British people were groaning in a protracted 
financial crisis, when, if ever, there was a hope 
that the expected convulsion and ruin were at hand, 
Napoleon, instead of waiting for his already 
rigorous blockade to finish the work he attributed 
to it, strove to draw it yet closer, by demands which 
were unnecessary and to which the czar could not 
yield. Again Great Britain seized her opportunity, 
received her late enemy's fleet, and filled his treas- 
ury. Admit the difficulties of Napoleon ; allow as we 
may for the intricacy of the problem before him; 
the fact remains that he wholly misunderstood the 
temper of the Spanish people, the dangers of the 
Spanish enterprise, the resolution of Alexander. On 
the other hand, looking upon the principal charge 
against the policy of the British government, that it 
alienated the United States, it is still true that there 

The Battle of Trafalgar 227 

was no miscalculation as to the long-suffering of the 
latter under the guidance of Jefferson, with his 
passion for peace. The submission of the United 
States lasted until Napoleon was committed to his 
final blunder, thus justifying the risk taken by Great 
Britain and awarding to her the strategic triumph. 
... As regards the rightfulness of the action of 
the two parties, viewed separately from their policy, 
opinions will probably always differ, according to 
the authority attributed by individuals to the dicta of 
International Law. It may be admitted at once that 
neither Napoleon's decrees nor the British orders 
can be justified at that bar, except by the simple plea 
of self-preservation, the first law of states even 
more than of men; for no government is empowered 
to assent to that last sacrifice, which the individual 
may make for the noblest motives. The beneficent 
influence of the mass of conventions known as Inter- 
national Law is indisputable, nor should its author- 
ity be lightly undermined; but it cannot prevent the 
interests of belligerents and neutrals from clashing, 
nor speak with perfect clearness in all cases where 
they do. Of this the Rule of 1756 offered, in its 
day, a conspicuous instance. The belligerent claimed 
that the neut-'al, by covering with his flag a trade 
previously the monopoly of the enemy, not only in- 
flicted a grave injury by snatching from him a lawful 
prey, but was guilty likewise of a breach of neutral- 
ity; the neutral contended that the enemy had a right 
to change his commercial regulations, in war as well 
as in peace. To the author, though an American, 
the belligerent argument seems the stronger; nor 

228 Part II: Sea Power in History 

was the laudable desire of the neutral for gain a 
nobler motive than the solicitude, about their na- 
tional resources, of men who rightly believed them- 
selves engaged in a struggle for national existence. 
The measure meted to Austria and Prussia was an 
ominous indication of the fate Great Britain might 
expect, if her strength failed her. But, whatever the 
decision of our older and milder civilization on the 
merits of the particular question, there can be no 
doubt of the passionate earnestness of the two dis- 
putants in their day, nor of the conviction of right 
held by either. In such a dilemma, the last answer 
of International Law has to be that every state is 
the final judge as to whether it should or should 
not make war; to its own self alone is it responsible 
for the rightfulness of this action. If, however, the 
condition of injury entailed by the neutral's course 
is such as to justify war, it justifies all lesser means 
of control. The question of the rightfulness of 
these disappears, and that of policy alone remains. 
It is the business of the neutral, by his prepared 
condition, to make impolitic that which he claims is 
also wrong. The neutral which fails to do so, which 
leaves its ports defenseless and its navy stunted until 
the emergency comes, will then find, as the United 
States found in the early years of this century, an 
admirable opportunity to write State Papers. 


general considerations that have been ad- 
vanced are sufficient to indicate what should 
have been the general plan of the war on the part of 
the United States. Every war must be aggressive, 
or, to use the technical term, offensive, in military 
character; for unless you injure the enemy, if you 
confine yourself, as some of the grumblers of that 
day would have it, to simple defense against his 
efforts, obviously he has no inducement to yield your 
contention. Incidentally, however, vital interests 
must be defended, otherwise the power of offense 
falls with them. Every war, therefore, has both 
a defensive and an offensive side, and in an effective 
plan of campaign each must receive due attention. 
Now, in 1812, so far as general natural conditions 
went, the United States was relatively weak on the 
sea frontier, and strong on the side of Canada. The 
seaboard might, indeed, in the preceding ten years, 
have been given a development of force, by the 
creation of an adequate navy, which would have 
prevented war, by the obvious danger to British 
interests involved in hostilities. But this had not 
been done; and Jefferson, by his gunboat policy, 
building some two hundred of those vessels, worth- 

1 "Sea Power in its' Relations with the War of 1812," Vol. I, pp. 
295-308; Vol. II, pp. 121-125. 

230 Part II: Sea Power in History 

less unless under cover of the land, proclaimed by 
act as by voice his adherence to a bare defensive. 
The sea frontier, therefore, became mainly a line of 
defense, the utility of which primarily was, or should 
have been, to maintain communication with the out- 
side world; to support commerce, which in turn 
should sustain the financial potency that determines 
the issues of war. 

Such in general was the condition of the 

sea frontier, thrown inevitably upon the defensive. 
With the passing comment that, had it been de- 
fended as suggested [by a squadron of respectable 
battleships in concentrated strength. EDITOR], 
Great Britain would never have forced the war, let 
us now consider conditions on the Canadian line, 
where circumstances eminently favored the offensive 
by the United States; for this war should not be 
regarded simply as a land war or a naval war, 
nor yet as a war of offense and again one of de- 
fense, but as being continuously and at all times 
both offensive and defensive, both land and sea, in 
reciprocal influence. 

Disregarding as militarily unimportant the arti- 
ficial boundary dividing Canada from New York, 
Vermont, and the eastern parts of the Union, the 
frontier separating the land positions of the two 
belligerents was the Great Lakes and the river St. 
Lawrence. This presented certain characteristic 
and unusual features. That it was a water line was 
a condition not uncommon; but it was exceptionally 
marked by those broad expanses which constitute 
inland seas of great size and depth, navigable by 

General Strategy of the War of 1812 231 

vessels of the largest sea-going dimensions. This 
water system, being continuous and in continual 
progress, is best conceived by applying to the whole, 
from Lake Superior to the ocean, the name of the 
great river, the St. Lawrence, which on the one 
hand unites it to the sea, and on the other divides 
the inner waters from the outer by a barrier of 
rapids, impassable to ships that otherwise could 
navigate freely both lakes and ocean. 

The importance of the lakes to military opera- 
tions must always be great, but it was much enhanced 
in 1812 by the undeveloped condition of land com- 
munications. With the roads in the state they then 
were, the movement of men, and still more of sup- 
plies, was vastly more rapid by water than by land. 
Except in winter, when iron-bound snow covered the 
ground, the routes of Upper Canada were well-nigh 
impassable; in spring and in autumn rains, wholly 
so to heavy vehicles. The mail from Montreal to 
York, now Toronto, three hundred miles, 
took a month in transit. 1 In October, 1814, when 
the war was virtually over, the British general at 
Niagara lamented to the commander-in-chief that, 
owing to the refusal of the navy to carry troops, 
an important detachment was left " to struggle 
through the dreadful roads from Kingston to 
York." 2 " Should reinforcements and provisions 
not arrive, the naval commander would," in his 
opinion, "have much to answer for." 3 The com- 

1 Kingsford's "History of Canada," Vol. VIII, p. ill. 

2 Drummond to Prevost, Oct. 20, 1814. Report on Canadian Ar- 
chives, 1896, Upper Canada, p. 9. 

3 Ibid., Oct. 15. 

232 Part II: Sea Power in History 

mander-in-chief himself wrote: "The command of 
the lakes enables the enemy to perform in two days 
what it takes the troops from Kingston sixteen to 
twenty days of severe marching. Their men arrive 
fresh; ours fatigued, and with exhausted equipment. 
The distance from Kingston to the Niagara frontier 
exceeds two hundred and fifty miles, and part of 
the way is impracticable for supplies." 1 On the 
United States side, road conditions were similar but 
much less disadvantageous. The water route by 
Ontario was greatly preferred as a means of trans- 
portation, and in parts and at certain seasons was 
indispensable. Stores for Sackett's Harbor, for 
instance, had in early summer to be brought to 
Oswego, and thence coasted along to their destina- 
tion, in security or in peril, according to the mo- 
mentary predominance of one party or the other 
on the lake. In like manner, it was more con- 
venient to move between the Niagara frontier and 
the east end of the lake by water; but in case of 
necessity, men could march. An English traveler 
in 1818 says: "I accomplished the journey from 
Albany to Buffalo in October in six days with ease 
and comfort, whereas in May it took ten of great 
difficulty and distress." 2 In the farther West the 
American armies, though much impeded, advanced 
securely through Ohio and Indiana to the shores of 
Lake Erie, and there maintained themselves in sup- 
plies sent over-country; whereas the British at the 

1 Prevost to Bathurat, Aug. 14, 1814. Report on Canadian Archives, 
1896, Lower Canada, p. 36. 

"Travels," J. M. Duncan, Vol. II, p. 27. 

General Strategy of the War of 1812 233 

western end of the lake, opposite Detroit, depended 
wholly upon the water, although no hostile force 
threatened the land line between them and Ontario. 
The battle of Lake Erie, so disastrous to their cause, 
was forced upon them purely by failure of food, 
owing to the appearance of Perry's squadron. 

. . . The opinion of competent soldiers on the 
spot, such as Craig and Brock, in full possession of 
all the contemporary facts, may be accepted ex- 
plicitly as confirming the inferences which in any 
event might have been drawn from the natural fea- 
tures of the situation. Upon Mackinac and Detroit 
depended the control and quiet of the Northwestern 
country, because they commanded vital points on its 
line of communication. Upon Kingston and Mont- 
real, by their position arid intrinsic advantages, 
rested the communication of all Canada, along and 
above the St. Lawrence, with the sea power of Great 
Britain, whence alone could be drawn the constant 
support without which ultimate defeat should have 
been inevitable. Naval power, sustained upon the 
Great Lakes, controlled the great line of com- 
munication between the East and West, and also 
conferred upon the party possessing it the strategic 
advantage of interior lines; that is, of shorter 
distances, both in length and time, to move from 
point to point of the lake shores, close to which 
lay the scenes of operations. It followed that De- 
troit and Michilimackinac, being at the begin- 
ning in the possession of the United States, should 
have been fortified, garrisoned, provisioned, in 
readiness for siege, and placed in close communica- 

Part II: Sea Power in History 

tion with home, as soon as war was seen to be im- 
minent, which it was in December, 1811, at latest. 
Having in that quarter everything to lose, and com- 
paratively little to gain, the country was thrown on 
the defensive. On the east the possession of Mont- 
real or Kingston would cut off all Canada above 
from support by the sea, which would be equivalent 
to ensuring its fall. " I shall continue to exert my- 
self to the utmost to overcome every difficulty," 
wrote Brock, who gave such emphatic proof of 
energetic and sagacious exertion in his subsequent 
course. " Should, however, the communication be- 
tween Montreal and Kingston be cut off, the fate of 
the troops in this part of the province will be de- 
cided." 1 " The Montreal frontier," said the officer 
selected by the Duke of Wellington to report on the 
defenses of Canada, " is the most important, and at 
present [1826] confessedly most vulnerable and 
accessible part of Canada." 2 There, then, was the 
direction for offensive operations by the United 
States; preferably against Montreal, for, if success- 
ful, a much larger region would be isolated and re- 
duced. Montreal gone, Kingston could receive no 
help from without; and, even if capable of tem- 
porary resistance, its surrender would be but a ques- 
tion of time. Coincidently with this military ad- 
vance, naval development for the control of the 
lakes should have proceeded, as a discreet pre- 
caution; although, after the fall of Kingston and 
Montreal, there could have been little use of an 

"Life of Brock," p. 191. 

Smyth, " Precis of the Wan in Canada," p. 167. 

General Strategy of the War of 1812 235 

inland navy, for the British local resources would 
then have been inadequate to maintain an opposing 

Results of the Northern Campaign 

[While control was more vital and the forces 
stronger on Lake Ontario than on either Erie or 
Champlain, no naval action of consequence occurred 
there in 1813 or in fact throughout the war. Yeo, 
the British commander, was enjoined by Admiralty 
orders to take no risks; and the American Com- 
modore Chauncey, with no such justification, adopted 
a similar policy. Hence the important fleet actions 
of the war were in other waters Perry's victory 
of September 10, 1813, on Lake Erie, and Mac- 
donough's victory on Lake Champlain a year later. 
The first sentence in the paragraph following refers 
to a raid on Buffalo, December 30, 1813. EDITOR.] 

With this may be said to have terminated the 
northern campaign of 1813. The British had re- 
gained full control of the Niagara peninsula, and 
they continued to hold Fort Niagara, in the State of 
New York, till peace was concluded. The only 
substantial gain on the whole frontier, from the ex- 
treme east to the extreme west, was the destruction 
of the British fleet on Lake Erie, and the consequent 
transfer of power in the west to the United States. 
This was the left flank of the American position. 
Had the same result been accomplished on the right 
flank, as it might have been, at Montreal, or 
even at Kingston, the center and left must have 
fallen also. For the misdirection of effort to 

236 Part II: Sea Power in History 

Niagara, the local commanders, Dearborn and 
Chauncey, are primarily responsible; for Arm- 
strong 1 yielded his own correct perceptions to the 
representations of the first as to the enemy's force, 
supported by the arguments of the naval officer 
favoring the diversion of effort from Kingston to 
Toronto. Whether Chauncey ever formally ad- 
mitted to himself this fundamental mistake, which 
wrecked the summer's work upon Lake Ontario, 
does not appear; but that he had learned from ex- 
perience is shown by a letter to the Secretary of the 
Navy, 2 when the squadrons had been laid up. In 
this he recognized the uselessness of the heavy sail- 
ing schooners when once a cruising force of ships for 
war had been created, thereby condemning much of 
his individual management of the campaign; and he 
added: "If it is determined to prosecute the war 
offensively, and secure our conquests in Upper 
Canada, Kingston ought unquestionably to be the 
first object of attack, and that so early in the spring 
as to prevent the enemy from using the whole of the 
naval force that he is preparing." 

In the three chapters which here end, the Ontario 
operations have been narrated consecutively and at 
length, without interruption by other issues, ex- 
cept the immediately related Lake Erie campaign, 
-because upon them turned, and upon them by the 
dispositions of the government this year were 
wrecked the fortunes of the war. The year 1813, 
from the opening of the spring to the closing in of 

1 The United States Secretary of War. EDITOR. 

* December 17, 1813. Captain's Letters, Navy Department. 

General Strategy of the War of 1812 237 

winter, was for several reasons the period when 
conditions were most propitious to the American 
cause. In 1812 war was not begun until June, and 
then with little antecedent preparation; and it was 
waged half-heartedly, both governments desiring 
to nip hostilities. In i8i4 v on the other hand, when 
the season opened, Napoleon had fallen, and the 
United States no longer had an informal ally to 
divert the efforts of Great Britain. But in the inter- 
,vening year, 1813, although the pressure upon the 
seaboard, the defensive frontier, was undoubtedly 
greater than before, and much vexation and harass- 
ment was inflicted, no serious injury was done be- 
yond the suppression of commerce, inevitable in any 
event. In the north, on the lakes frontier, the of- 
fensive and the initiative continued in the hands of 
the United States. No substantial reinforcements 
reached Canada until long after the ice broke up, 
and then in insufficient numbers. British naval 
preparations had been on an inadequate scale, re- 
ceiving no proper professional supervision. The 
American Government, on the contrary, had had 
the whole winter to prepare, and the services of a 
very competent naval organizer. It had also the 
same period to get ready its land forces; while 
incompetent Secretaries of War and of the Navy 
gave place in January to capable men in both 

With all this in its favor, and despite certain 
gratifying successes, the general outcome was a 
complete failure, the full measure of which could be 
realized only when the downfall of Napoleon re- 

Part II: Sea Power in History 

vcaled what disaster may result from neglect to 
seize opportunity while it exists. The tide then 
ebbed, and never again flowed. For this many 
causes may be alleged. The imbecile ideas concern- 
ing military and naval preparation which had pre- 
vailed since the opening of the century doubtless 
counted for much. The entrusting of chief com- 
mand to broken-down men like Dearborn and 
Wilkinson was enough to ruin the best conceived 
schemes. But, despite these very serious drawbacks, 
the strategic misdirection of effort was the most 
fatal cause of failure. 

There is a simple but very fruitful remark of a 
Swiss military writer, that every military line may 
be conceived as having three parts, the middle and 
the two ends, or flanks. As sound principle requires 
that military effort should not be distributed along 
the whole of an enemy's position, unless in the 
unusual case of overwhelming superiority, but 
that distinctly superior numbers should be concen- 
trated upon a limited portion of it, this idea of a 
threefold division aids materially in considering 
any given situation. One third, or two thirds, of an 
enemy's line may be assailed, but very seldom the 
whole; and everything may depend upon the choice 
made for attack. Now the British frontier, which 
the United States was to assail, extended from Mon- 
treal on the east to Detroit on the west. Its three 
parts were: Montreal and the St. Lawrence on the 
east, or left flank; Ontario in the middle, centering 
at Kingston; and Erie on the right; the strength of 
the British position in the last-named section being 

General Strategy of the War of 1812 239 

at Detroit and Maiden, because they commanded 
the straits upon which the Indian tribes depended 
for access to the east. Over against the British 
positions named lay those of the United States. 
Given in the same order, these were: Lake Cham- 
plain, and the shores of Ontario and of Erie, center- 
ing respectively in the naval stations at Sackett's 
Harbor and Presque Isle. 

Accepting these definitions, which are too obvious 
to admit of dispute, what considerations should have 
dictated to the United States the direction of attack; 
the one, or two, parts out of the three, on which 
effort should be concentrated? The reply, as a 
matter of abstract, accepted, military principle, is 
certain. Unless very urgent reasons to the con- 
trary exist, strike at one end rather than at the 
middle, because both ends can come up to help the 
middle against you quicker than one end can get to 
help the other; and, as between the two ends, strike 
at the one upon which the enemy most depends 
for reinforcements and supplies to maintain his 
strength. Sometimes this decision presents diffi- 
culties. Before Waterloo, Wellington had his own 
army as a center of interest; on his right flank the 
sea, whence came supplies and reinforcements 
from England; on his left the Prussian army, sup- 
port by which was imminently necessary. On which 
flank would Napoleon throw the weight of his 
attack? Wellington reasoned, perhaps through 
national bias, intensified by years of official de- 
pendence upon sea support, that the blow would fall 
upon his right, and he strengthened it with a body 

240 Part II: Sea Power in History 

of men sorely needed when the enemy came upon his 
left, in overwhelming numbers, seeking to separate 
him from the Prussians. 

No such doubt was possible as to Canada in 1813. 
It depended wholly upon the sea, and it touched the 
sea at Montreal. The United States, with its com- 
bined naval and military strength, crude as the latter 
was, was at the beginning of 1813 quite able in 
material power to grapple two out of the three 
parts, Montreal and Kingston. Had they been 
gained, Lake Erie would have fallen; as is demon- 
strated by the fact that the whole Erie region went 
down like a house of cards the moment Perry tri- 
umphed on the lake. His victory was decisive, 
simply because it destroyed the communications of 
Maiden with the sea. The same result would have 
been achieved, with effect over a far wider region, 
by a similar success in the east. 

The Possibilities of a " Fleet in Being " 

[ A DMIRAL Cervera left the Cape Verde Islands 
f\ on April 29, 1898. After touching at Mar- 
tinique on May n, he coaled at Curagao on the 
1 5th, and entered Santiago on the I9th. 

On news of Cervera's arrival at Martinique, 
Sampson's squadron from Porto Rico and Schley's 
Flying Squadron from Hampton Roads converged 
on Key West. Sampson had his full strength in the 
approaches to Havana by the 2ist and Schley was 
off Cienfuegos, the chief southern port of Cuba, 
on the 22d. 

" We cannot," writes Admiral Mahan, " expect 
ever again to have an enemy so entirely inapt as 
Spain showed herself to be; yet, even so, Cervera's 
division reached Santiago on the i9th of May, two 
days before our divisions appeared in the full 
force they could muster before Havana and Cien- 
fuegos." 2 EDITOR.] 

As was before said, the disparity between the 
armored fleets of the two nations was nominally 
inconsiderable; and the Spaniards possessed one 
extremely valuable and by us unrivalled ad- 

"Lessons of the War with Spain" (1899), PP- 75~8S- 
Ibid., p. 157- 

Part II: Sea Power in 1 1 is lory 

vantage in a nearly homogeneous group of five 1 
armored cruisers, very fast, and very similar both 
in nautical qualities and in armament. It is difficult 
to estimate too highly the possibilities open to such 
a body of ships, regarded as a " fleet in being/' to 
use an expression that many of our readers may 
have seen, but perhaps scarcely fully understood. 

The phrase " fleet in being," having within recent 
years gained much currency in naval writing, de- 
mands like the word "jingo" - preciseness of 
definition; and this, in general acceptance, it has not 
yet attained. It remains, therefore, somewhat 
vague, and so occasions misunderstandings between 
men whose opinions perhaps do not materially 
differ. The writer will not attempt to define, but 
a brief explanation of the term and its origin may 
not be amiss. It was first used, in 1690, by the 
British admiral Lord Torrington, when defending 
his course in declining to engage decisively, with 
an inferior force, a French fleet, then dominating 
in the Channel, and under cover of which it was 
expected that a descent upon the English coast 
would be made by a great French army. " Hail I 
fought otherwise," he said, " our fleet had been 
totally lost, and the kingdom had lain open to in- 
vasion. As it was, most men were in fear that the 
French would invade; but I was always of another 
opinion, for I always said that whilst we had a fleet 
in being, they would not dare to make an attempt." 

A " fleet in being," therefore, is one the existence 

1 In rhis number is included the Emperador Carlos V> which, how- 
ever, did not accompany the other four under ' 

Lessons of the War with Spain 243 

and maintenance of which, although inferior, on 
or near the scene of operations, is a perpetual 
menace to the various more or less exposed interests 
of the enemy, who cannot tell when a blow may fall, 
and who is therefore compelled to restrict his opera- 
tions, otherwise possible, until that fleet can be 
destroyed or neutralized. It corresponds very 
closely to " a position on the flank and rear " of an 
enemy, where the presence of a smaller force, as 
every military student knows, harasses, and may 
even paralyze, offensive movements. When such a 
force is extremely mobile, as a fleet of armored 
cruisers may be, its power of mischief is very great; 
potentially, it is forever on the flank and rear, 
threatening the lines of communications. It is 
indeed as a threat to communications that the " fleet 
in being " is chiefly formidable. 

The theory received concrete and convincing 
illustration during the recent hostilities, from the 
effect exerted and justly exerted upon our 
plans and movements by Cervera's squadron, until 
there had been assembled before Santiago a force 
at once so strong and so numerous as to make his 
escape very improbable. Even so, when a telegram 
was received from a capable officer that he had 
identified by night, off the north coast of Cuba, an 
armored cruiser, which, if of that class, was most 
probably an enemy, the sailing of Shaffer's ex- 
pedition was stopped until the report could be 
verified. So much for the positive, material in- 
fluence in the judgment of the writer, the reason- 
able influence of a " fleet in being." As regards 

244 Part II: Sea Power in History 

the moral effect, the effect upon the imagination, it 
is scarcely necessary more than to allude to the 
extraordinary play of the fancy, the kaleidoscopic 
effects elicited from our own people, and from some 
foreign critics, in propounding dangers for ourselves 
and ubiquity for Cervera. Against the infection of 
such tremors it is one of the tasks of those in re- 
sponsibility to guard themselves and, if possible, 
their people. " Don't make pictures for yourself," 
was Napoleon's warning to his generals. " Every 
naval operation since I became head of the govern- 
ment has failed, because my admirals see double 
and have learned where I don't know that 
war can be made without running risks." 

The probable value of a " fleet in being " has, in 
the opinion of the writer, been much overstated; 
for, even at the best, the game of evasion, which 
this is, if persisted in, can have but one issue. The 
superior force will in the end run the inferior to 
earth. In the meanwhile, however, vital time may 
have been lost. It is conceivable, for instance, that 
Cervera's squadron, if thoroughly effective, might, 
by swift and well-concealed movements, have de- 
tained our fleet in the West Indies until the hur- 
ricane of September, 1898, swept over the Carib- 
bean. We had then no reserve to replace armored 
ships lost or damaged. But, for such persistence of 
action, there is needed in each unit of the " fleet in 
being " an efficiency rarely attainable, and liable to 
be lost by unforeseen accident at a critical moment. 
Where effect, nay, safety, depends upon mere 
celerity of movement, as in retreat, a crippled ship 

Lessons of the War with Spain 245 

means a lost ship; or a lost fleet, if the body sticks 
to its disabled member. Such efficiency it is prob- 
able Cervera's division never possessed. The 
length of its passage across the Atlantic, however 
increased by the embarrassment of frequently re- 
coaling the torpedo destroyers, so far overpassed 
the extreme calculations of our naval authorities, 
that ready credence was given to an apparently 
authentic report that it had returned to Spain; the 
more so that such concentration was strategically 
correct, and it was incorrect to adventure an im- 
portant detachment so far from home, without the 
reinforcement it might have received in Cadiz. 
This delay, in ships whose individual speed had 
originally been very high, has been commonly at- 
tributed in our service to the inefficiency of the 
engine-room force; and this opinion is confirmed 
by a Spanish officer writing in their " Revista de la 
Marina." " The Americans," he says, " keep their 
ships cruising constantly, in every sea, and therefore 
have a large and qualified engine-room force. We 
have but few machinists, and are almost destitute 
of firemen." This inequality, however, is funda- 
mentally due to the essential differences of me- 
chanical capacity and development in the two nations. 
An amusing story was told the writer some years ago 
by one of our consuls in Cuba. Making a rather 
rough passage between two ports, he saw an elderly 
Cuban or Spanish gentleman peering frequently into 
the engine-room, with evident uneasiness. When 
asked the cause of his concern, the reply was, " I 
don't feel comfortable unless the man in charge of 
the engines talks English to them." 

246 Part II: Sea Power in History 

When to the need of constant and sustained 
ability to move at high speed is added the necessity 
of frequent recoaling, allowing the hostile navy 
time to come up, it is evident that the active use of 
a " fleet in being," however perplexing to the enemy, 
must be both anxious and precarious to its own com- 
mander. The contest is one of strategic wits, and 
it is quite possible that the stronger, though slower, 
force, centrally placed, may, in these days of cables, 
be able to receive word and to corner its antagonist 
before the latter can fill his bunkers. Of this fact 
we should probably have received a very convincing 
illustration, had a satisfactory condition of our 
coast defenses permitted the Flying Squadron to 
be off Cienfuegos, or even off Havana, instead of in 
Hampton Roads. Cervera's entrance to Santiago 
was known to us within twenty-four hours. In 
twenty-four more it could have been communicated 
off Cienfeugos by a fast despatch boat, after which 
less than forty-eight would have placed our division 
before Santiago. The uncertainty felt by Com- 
modore Schley, when he arrived off Cienfuegos, as 
to whether the Spanish division was inside or no, 
would not have existed had his squadron been pre- 
viously blockading; and his consequent delay of over 
forty-eight hours with the rare chance thus 
offered to Cervera would not have occurred. To 
coal four great ships within that time was prob- 
ably beyond the resources of Santiago; whereas the 
speed predicted for our own movements is rather 
below than above the dispositions contemplated to 
ensure it. 

Lessons of the War with Spain 247 

The great end of a war fleet, however, is not to 
chase, nor to fly, but to control the seas. Had 
Cervera escaped our pursuit at Santiago, it would 
have been only to be again paralyzed at Cienfuegos 
or at Havana. When speed, not force, is the re- 
liance, destruction may be postponed, but can be 
escaped only by remaining in port. Let it not, 
therefore, be inferred, from the possible, though 
temporary, effect of a " fleet in being," that speed 
is the chief of all factors in the battleship. This 
plausible, superficial notion, too easily accepted in 
these days of hurry and of unreflecting dependence 
upon machinery as the all in all, threatens much harm 
to the future efficiency of the navy. Not speed, but 
power of offensive action, is the dominant factor in 
war. The decisive preponderant element of great 
land forces has ever been the infantry, which, it is 
needless to say, is also the slowest. The homely 
summary of the art of war, " To get there first 
with the most men," has with strange perverseness 
been so distorted in naval and still more in popu- 
lar conception, that the second and more im- 
portant consideration has been subordinated to the 
former and less essential. Force does not exist for 
mobility, but mobility for force. It is of no use to 
get there first unless, when the enemy in turn arrives, 
you have also the most men, the greater force. 
This is especially true of the sea, because there in- 
feriority of force of gun power cannot be 
compensated, as on land it at times may be, by 
judiciously using accidents of the ground. I do 
not propose to fall into an absurdity of my own by 

248 Pan II: Sea Power in History 

questioning the usefulness of higher speed, provided 
the increase is not purchased at the expense of 
strictly offensive power; but the time has come to 
say plainly that its value is being exaggerated; that 
it is in the battleship secondary to gun power; that 
a battle fleet can never attain, nor maintain, the 
highest rate of any ship in it, except of that one 
which at the moment is the slowest, for it is a com- 
monplace of naval action that fleet speed is that of 
the slowest ship; that not exaggerated speed, but 
uniform speed sustained speed is the requisite 
of the battle fleet; that it is not machinery, as is 
often affirmed, but brains and guns, that win battles 
and control of the sea. The true speed of war is 
not headlong precipitancy, but the unremitting 
energy which wastes no time. 

For the reasons that have been given, the safest, 
though not the most effective, disposition of an in- 
ferior " fleet in being " is to lock it up in an im- 
pregnable port or ports, imposing upon the enemy 
the intense and continuous strain of watchfulness 
against escape. This it was that Torrington, the 
author of the phrase, proposed for the time to do. 
Thus it was that Napoleon, to some extent before 
Trafalgar, but afterward with set and exclusive 
purpose, used the French Navy, which he was con- 
tinually augmenting, and yet never, to the end of 
his reign, permitted again to undertake any serious 
expedition. The mere maintenance of several for- 
midable detachments, in apparent readiness, from 
the Scheldt round to Toulon, presented to the Brit- 
ish so many possibilities of mischief that they were 

Lessons of the War with Spain 249 

compelled to keep constantly before each of the 
French ports a force superior to that within, en- 
tailing an expense and an anxiety by which the em- 
peror hoped to exhaust their endurance. To some 
extent this was Cervera's position and function in 
Santiago, whence followed logically the advisability 
of a land attack upon the port, to force to a decisive 
issue a situation which was endurable only if in- 
curable. " The destruction of Cervera's squadron," 
justly commented an Italian writer, before the result 
was known, " is the only really decisive fact that can 
result from the expedition to Santiago, because it 
will reduce to impotence the naval power of Spain. 
The determination of the conflict will depend 
throughout upon the destruction of the Spanish sea 
power, and not upon territorial descents, although 
the latter may aggravate the situation.'* The 
American admiral from before Santiago, when 
urging the expedition of a land force to make the 
bay untenable, telegraphed, " The destruction of 
this squadron will end the war; " and it did. 


battle fleet before Santiago was more than 
powerful enough to crush the hostile squadron 
in a very short time if the latter attempted a stand-up 
fight. The fact was so evident that it was perfectly 
clear nothing of the kind would be hazarded; but, 
nevertheless, we could not afford to diminish the 
number of armored vessels on this spot, now become 
the determining center of the conflict. The pos- 
sibility of the situation was twofold. Either the 
enemy might succeed in an effort at evasion, a chance 
which required us to maintain a distinctly superior 
force of battleships in order to allow the occasional 
absence of one or two for coaling or repairs, besides 
as many lighter cruisers as could be mustered for 
purposes of lookout, or, by merely remaining quietly 
at anchor, protected from attack by the lines of 
torpedoes, he might protract a situation which 
tended not only to wear out our ships, but also to 
keep them there into the hurricane season, a 
risk which was not, perhaps, adequately realized by 
the people of the United States. 

It is desirable at this point to present certain 
other elements of the naval situation which weightily 
affected naval action at the moment, and which, 
also, were probably overlooked by the nation at 

1 "Lessons of the War with Spain" (1899), pp. 184-191. 

The Santiago Blockade 251 

large, for they give a concrete illustration of con- 
ditions, which ought to influence our national policy, 
as regards the navy, in the present and immediate 
future. We had to economize our ships because 
they were too few. There was no reserve. The 
Navy Department had throughout, and especially 
at this period, to keep in mind, not merely the 
exigencies at Santiago, but the fact that we had not 
a battleship in the home ports that could in six 
months be made ready to replace one lost or 
seriously disabled, as the Massachusetts, for in- 
stance, not long afterwards was, by running on an 
obstruction in New York Bay. Surprise approach- 
ing disdain was expressed, both before and after 
the destruction of Cervera's squadron, that the 
battle fleet was not sent into Santiago either to 
grapple the enemy's ships there, or to support the 
operations of the army, in the same way, for in- 
stance, that Farragut crossed the torpedo lines at 
Mobile. The reply and, in the writer's judg- 
ment, the more than adequate reason was that 
the country could not at that time, under the political 
conditions which then obtained, afford to risk the 
loss or disablement of a single battleship, unless the 
enterprise in which it was hazarded carried a reason- 
able probability of equal or greater loss to the 
enemy, leaving us, therefore, as strong as before 
relatively to the naval power which in the course of 
events might yet be arrayed against us. If we lost 
ten thousand men, the country could replace them; 
if we lost a battleship, it could not be replaced. The 
issue of the war, as a whole and in every locality 

252 Part II: Sea Power in History 

to which it extended, depended upon naval force, 
and it was imperative to achieve, not success only, 
but success delayed no longer than necessary. A 
million of the best soldiers would have been power- 
less in face of hostile control of the sea. Dewey 
had not a battleship, but there can be no doubt that 
that capable admiral thought he ought to have one 
or more; and so he ought, if we had had them to 
spare. The two monitors would be something, 
doubtless, when they arrived; but, like all their 
class, they lacked mobility. 

When Camara started by way of Suez for the 
East, it was no more evident than it was before that 
we ought to have battleships there. That was per- 
fectly plain from the beginning; but battleships no 
more than men can be in two places at once, and 
until Camara's movement had passed beyond the 
chance of turning west, the Spanish fleet in the 
Peninsula had, as regarded the two fields of war, 
the West Indies and the Philippines, the recognized 
military advantage of an interior position. In 
accepting inferiority in the East, and concentrating 
our available force in the West Indies, thereby 
ensuring a superiority over any possible combina- 
tion of Spanish vessels in the latter quarter, the 
Department acted rightly and in accordance with 
sound military precedent; but it must be remem- 
bered that the Spanish Navy was not the only 
possibility of the day. The writer was not in a 
position to know then, and does not know now, 
what weight the United States Government attached 
to the current rumors of possible political friction 

The Santiago Blockade 253 

with other states whose people were notoriously 
sympathizers with our enemy. The public knows 
as much about that as he does; but it was clear that 
if a disposition to interfere did exist anywhere, it 
would not be lessened by a serious naval disaster to 
us, such as the loss of one of our few battleships 
would be. Just as in the maintenance of a techni- 
cally " effective " blockade of the Cuban ports, so, 
also, in sustaining the entireness and vigor of the 
battle fleet, the attitude of foreign Powers as well 
as the strength of the immediate enemy had to be 
considered. For such reasons it was recommended 
that the orders on this point to Admiral Sampson 
should be peremptory; not that any doubt existed 
as to the discretion of that . officer, who justly 
characterized the proposition to throw the ships 
upon the mine fields of Santiago as suicidal folly, 
but because it was felt that the burden of such a 
decision should be assumed by a superior authority, 
less liable to suffer in personal reputation from the 
idle imputations of over-caution, which at times 
were ignorantly made by some who ought to have 
known better, but did not. " The matter is left to 
your discretion," the telegram read, "except that 
the United States armored vessels must not be 

When Cervera's squadron was once cornered, an 
intelligent opponent would, under any state of naval 
preparedness, have seen the advisability of forcing 
him out of the port by an attack in the rear, which 
could be made only by an army. As Nelson said 
on one occasion, " What is wanted now is not more 

254 Part II: Sea Power in History 

ships, but troops." Under few conditions should 
such a situation be prolonged. But the reasons 
adduced in the last paragraph made it doubly in- 
cumbent upon us to bring the matter speedily to an 
issue, and the combined expedition from Tampa 
was at once ordered. Having in view the number 
of hostile troops in the country surrounding San- 
tiago, as shown by the subsequent returns of 
prisoners, and shrewdly suspected by ourselves 
beforehand, it was undoubtedly desirable to employ 
a larger force than was sent. The criticism made 
upon the inadequate number of troops engaged in 
this really daring movement is intrinsically sound, 
and would be wholly accurate if directed, not against 
the enterprise itself, but against the national short- 
sightedness which gave us so trivial an army at the 
outbreak of the war. The really hazardous nature 
of the movement is shown by the fact that the 
column of Escario, three thousand strong, from 
Manzanillo, reached Santiago on July 3d; too 
late, it is true, abundantly too late, to take part 
in the defense of San Juan and El Caney, upon 
holding which the city depended for food and 
water; yet not so late but that it gives a shiver- 
ing suggestion how much more arduous would have 
been the task of our troops had Escario come 
up in time. The incident but adds another to his- 
tory's long list of instances where desperate energy 
and economy of time have wrested safety out of the 
jaws of imminent disaster. The occasion was one 
that called upon us to take big risks; and success 
merely justifies doubly an attempt which, from the 

The Santiago Blockade 255 

obvious balance of advantages and disadvantages, 
was antecedently justified by its necessity, and would 
not have been fair subject for blame, even had it 

The Navy Department did not, however, think 
that even a small chance of injury should be taken 
which could be avoided; and it may be remarked 
that, while the man is unfit for command who, on 
emergency, is unable to run a very great risk for 
the sake of decisive advantage, he, on the other 
hand, is only less culpable who takes even a small 
risk of serious harm against which reasonable pre- 
caution can provide. It has been well said that 
Nelson took more care of his topgallant masts, in 
ordinary cruising, than he did of his whole fleet 
when the enemy was to be checked or beaten; and 
this combination of qualities apparently opposed is 
found in all strong military characters to the per- 
fection of which both are necessary. 

FLEET " 1 

The Port Arthur Squadron in the Russo-Japanese ' 

[AT the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War in 
** February, 1904, Russia had three armored 
cruisers at Vladivostok, another at Chemulpo, Korea, 
and seven battleships, six cruisers, and a torpedo flo- 
tilla at Port Arthur. Three of the Port Arthur ships 
were badly damaged by torpedo attack on Feb- 
ruary 8, and the cruiser at Chemulpo was destroyed 
on the next day. Togo lost two of his six first-class 
battleships by running into a mine field off Port 
Arthur on May 15. In an attempt to escape to 
Vladivostok on August 10, the Port Arthur squad- 
ron lost a battleship and several cruisers; the re- 
mainder were sunk in the course of the Port Arthur 
siege. This lasted from May 27 to January i, 
1905. Even before February 8, 1904, the Japanese 
had begun transporting their troops to Korea; and 
after the fall of Port Arthur they were able to 
throw their full strength against General Kuro- 
patkin in the decisive battle of Mukden, Feb- 
ruary 24, 1905. EDITOR.] 

I have been led, on an occasion not immediately 
connected with Naval Strategy, to observe that 

1 "Naval Strategy," pp. 383-401. 

" Fleet in Being " and " Fortress Fleet " 257 

errors and defeats are more obviously illustrative 
of principles than successes are. It is from the 
records of the beaten side that we are most surely 
able to draw instruction. This is partly due to the 
fact that the general or admiral who is worsted has 
to justify himself to his people, perhaps also to his 
Government. The naval practice of court-martial- 
ing a defeated captain or admiral has been most 
productive of the material which history, and the 
art of war, both require for their treatment. Even 
failing a court-martial, defeat cries aloud for ex- 
planation; whereas success, like charity, covers a 
multitude of sins. To this day Marengo is the 
victory of Napoleon, not of Desaix; and the 
hazardous stretching of the French line which 
caused the first defeat is by most forgotten in the 
ultimate triumph. The man who has failed will of 
his own motion bring out all that extenuates failure, 
or relieves him from the imputation of it. The 
victor is asked few questions; and if conscious of 
mistakes he need not reveal them. More can be 
found to criticize Kuropatkin and Rozhestvensky 
than to recognize either their difficulties or their 
merits. Probably few, even in this naval audience, 
knew, or have noted, that on the day preceding that 
on which two Japanese battleships, the Hatsuse and 
Yashima, were sunk by Russian mines, not a Jap- 
anese scout was in sight, to notice the Russian vessel 
engaged in the work which resulted so disastrously 
to its foes. On that day, during that operation, no 
Japanese vessel was visible to the lookouts at Port 

258 Part II: Sea Power in History 

For the reasons advanced, I turn at first, and 
more particularly, to the Russian naval action for 
illustration of principles, whether shown in ri^ht 
or wrong conduct; and here I first name two such 
principles, or formulation of maxims, as having 
been fundamental, and in my judgment fundamen- 
tally erroneous, in the Russian practice. These are 
mental conceptions, the first of which has been 
explicitly stated as controlling Russian plans, and 
influencing Russian military ideas; while the second 
may be deduced, inferentially, as exercising much 
effect. The first, under the title of " Fortress 
Fleet," is distinctly Russian; realized, that is, in 
Russian theory and practice, though not without 
representation in the military thought of other 
countries. The second is the well known " Fleet 
in Being; " a conception distinctly English in state- 
ment and in origin, although, like the first, it finds 
reflection in naval circles elsewhere. I shall not at 
this point define this conception " Fleet in Being." 
I shall attempt to do so later, by marking its extreme 
expression; but to do more will require more space 
than is expedient to give here, because full defini- 
tion would demand the putting forward of various 
shades of significance, quite wide in their diver- 
gence, which are attributed to the expression 
"licet in Being" by those who range them- 
selves as advocates of the theory embraced in the 

It is, however, apt here to remark that, in ex- 
treme formulation, the two theories, or principles, 
summed up in the phrases, " Fortress Fleet " and 

"Fleet in Being" and "Fortress Fleet" 250 

" Fleet in Being," are the antipodes of each other. 
They represent naval, or military, thought polar- 
ized, so to say. The one lays all stress on the for- 
tress, making the fleet so far subsidiary as to have 
no reason for existence save to help the fortress. 
The other discards the fortress altogether, unless 
possibly as a momentary refuge for the vessels of 
the fleet while coaling, repairing, or refreshing. 
The one throws national defense for the coast lines 
upon fortifications only; the other relies upon the 
fleet alone for actual defense. In each case, co- 
operation between the two arms, fleet and coast- 
works, is characterized by a supremacy of one or 
the other, so marked as to be exclusive. Co-ordina- 
tion of the two, which I conceive to be the proper 
solution, can scarcely be said to exist. The relation 
is that of subjection, rather than of co-ordination. 
[Here a distinction is drawn between compromise, 
which implies concessions and a middle course be- 
tween divergent purposes, and the proper method 
best expressed by the word adjustment, which sig- 
nifies concentration on a single purpose and co- 
ordination of all means to that end.] 

It is worthy of your consideration whether the 
word " compromise " does not really convey to your 
minds an impression that, when you come to design 
a ship of war, you must be prepared to concede 
something on every quality, in order that each of 
the others may have its share. Granting, and I am 
not prepared to deny, that in effect each several 
quality must yield something, if only in order that 
its own effectiveness be ensured, as in the case of 

260 Part II: Sea Power in History 

the central defense force just cited, is it of no con- 
sequence that you approach the problem in the 
spirit of him who divided his force among several 
passes, rather than of him who recognizes a central 
conception to which all else is to minister? Take 
the armored cruiser; a fad, I admit, with myself. 
She is armored, and she is a cruiser; and what have 
you got? A ship to " lie in the line?" as our 
ancestors used to say. No, and Yes; that is to say, 
she may on a pinch, and at a risk which exceeds her 
powers. A cruiser? Yes, and No; for, in order 
to give her armor and armament which do not fit 
her for the line, you have given tonnage beyond 
what is needed for the speed and coal endurance 
proper to a cruiser. By giving this tonnage to 
armor and armament you have taken it from other 
uses; either from increasing her own speed and 
endurance, or from providing an additional cruiser. 
You have in her more cruiser than you ought to 
have, and less armored vessel; or else less cruiser 
and more armored ship. I do not call this a com- 
bination, though it is undoubtedly a compromise. 
You have put two things together, but they remain 
two, have not become one; and, considering the 
tonnage, you have neither as much armored ship, 
nor as much cruiser, as you ought to have. I do not 
say you have a useless ship. I do say you have not 
as useful a ship as, for the tonnage, you ought to 
have. Whether this opinion of one man is right or 
wrong, however, is a very small matter compared 
with the desirability of officers generally considering 
these subjects on proper lines of thought, and with 

"Fleet in Being" and "Fortress Fleet" 261 

proper instruments of expression; that is, with 
correct principles and correct phraseology. 

As an illustration of what I am here saying, the 
two expressions, " Fortress Fleet " and " Fleet in 
Being," themselves give proof in their ultimate 
effect upon Russian practice and principle. Fortress 
Fleet was a dominant conception in Russian mili- 
tary and naval thought. I quote with some reserve, 
because from a daily newspaper, 1 but as probably 
accurate, and certainly characteristic of Russian 
theory, the following: " Before his departure from 
Bizerta for the Suez Canal, Admiral Wirenius, in 
command of the Russian squadron, remarked that 
the Russian plan was to make Port Arthur and 
Vladivostok the two most important arsenals in 
the empire, each having a fleet of corresponding 
strength," corresponding, that is, to the fortress, 
" depending upon it as upon a base." The dis- 
tribution would be a division in the face of the 
probable enemy, Japan, centrally situated, because 
the design has reference primarily to the fortress, 
not to naval efficiency. The conception is not wholly 
erroneous; if it were, the error would have been 
detected. It has an element of truth, and therein 
lies its greatest danger; the danger of half or 
quarter truths. A fleet can contribute to the welfare 
of coast fortresses; especially when the fortress is 
in a foreign possession of the nation. On the other 
hand, the Fleet in Being theory has also an ele- 
ment of truth, a very considerable element; and it 

1 The Kobe Chronicle, February 25, 1904; an English newspaper 
published in Japan. 

Part II: Sea Power hi History 

has been before the naval public, explicitly, for so 
long a time that it is impossible it was not known in 
Russia. It was known and was appreciated. It 
had a strong following. The Russian Naval Gen- 
eral Staff clamored for command of the sea; but in 
Influence upon the government, the responsible 
director and formulator of national policy, it did 
not possess due weight. Not having been adequately 
grasped, whether from neglect, or because the 
opposite factor of Fortress Fleet was already in 
possession of men's minds, it was never able to 
secure expression in the national plans. There was 
compromise, possibly; both things, Fleet in Being 
and Fortress Fleet, were attempted; but there was 
not adjustment. The fortress throughout reduced 
the fleet, as fleet, to insignificance in the national con- 
ceptions. What resulted was that at Port Arthur 
the country got neither a fortress fleet, for, except 
the guns mounted from it, the fleet contributed 
nothing to the defense of the place; nor yet a Fleet 
in Being, for it was never used as such. 

It is interesting to observe that this predominant 
conception of a fortress fleet reflects national tem- 
perament; that is, national characteristics, national 
bias. For, for what does Fortress Fleet starul ? 
For the defensive idea. For what does Fleet in 
Being stand? For the offensive. In what kind of 
warfare has Russia most conspicuously distinguished 
herself? In defensive. She has had her Suvarof, 
doubtless; but in 1812, and in the Crimea, and now 
again, in 1904-1905, it is to the defensive that she 
has inclined. In virtue of her territorial bulk and 

"Fleet in Being" and "Fortress Fleet" 263 

vast population, she has, so to say, let the enemy 
hammer at her, sure of survival in virtue of mass. 
Militarily, Russia as a nation is not enterprising. 
She has an apathetic bias towards the defensive. 
She has not, as a matter of national, or govern- 
mental, decision, so grasped the idea of offense, nor, 
as a people, been so gripped by that idea, as to 
correct the natural propensity to defense, and to 
give to defense and offense their proper adjustment 
in national and military policy. 

In these two well-known expressions, " Fortress 
Fleet " and " Fleet in Being," both current, and 
comparatively recent, we find ourselves therefore 
confronting the two old divisions of warfare, 
defensive and offensive. We may expect these old 
friends to exhibit their well-known qualities and 
limitations in action; but, having recognized them 
under their new garb, we will also consider them 
under it, speaking not directly of offensive and de- 
fensive, but of Fortress Fleet and Fleet in Being, 
and endeavoring, first, to trace their influence in the 
Russian conduct. . . . 

Why then was the fleet stationed in Port Arthur? 
Because, expecting the Japanese attack to fall upon 
Port Arthur, the purpose of the Russian authorities 
was not to use the fleet offensively against the 
enemy's navy, but defensively as a fortress fleet; 
defending the fortress by defensive action, awaiting 
attack, not making it. That is, the function of the 
fortress was conceived as defensive chiefly, and not 
as offensive. Later, I hope to show that the pur- 
pose, the raison d'etre, of a coast fortress is in itself 

264 Pan II: Sea Power in History 

offensive; because it exists chiefly for the purpose of 
sheltering a fleet, and keeping it fit to act offensively. 
For the present, waiving the point, it will be suffi- 
cient to note that the conception of the fleet by the 
Russians, that it should act only in defense, led 
necessarily to imperfect action even in that respect. 
The Port Arthur division virtually never acted 
offensively, even locally. An observer on the spot 
says: "In the disposition of their destroyers, the 
authorities did not seem disposed to give them a 
free hand, or to allow them to take any chances." 
And again, " The torpedo boats were never sent out 
with the aim of attacking Japanese ships, or trans- 
ports. If out, and attacked, they fought, but they 
did not go out for the purpose of attacking, al- 
though they would to cover an army flank." These 
two actions define the role indicated by the expres- 
sion, " Fortress Fleet." The Japanese expressed 
surprise that no attempt by scouting was made to 
ascertain their naval base, which was also the land- 
ing place of their army; and, although the sinking 
of the two battleships on May 15 was seen from 
Port Arthur, no effort was made to improve such 
a moment of success, and of demoralization to the 
enemy, although there were twenty-one destroyers 
at Port Arthur; sixteen of which were under steam 
and outside. So, at the very last moment, the fleet 
held on to its defensive role; going out only when 
already damaged by enemy's shells, and then not to 
fight but to fly. 

It is a curious cpmmentary upon this course of 
action, that, as far as any accounts that have come 

"Fleet in Being" and "Fortress Fleet" 265 

under my eye show, the fleet contributed nothing to 
the defense of the fortress beyond landing guns, 
and, as the final death struggle approached, using 
their batteries in support of those of the fortress; 
but the most extreme theorist would scarcely ad- 
vocate such an end as the object of maintaining a 
fleet. The same guns would be better emplaced on 
shore. As far as defense went, the Russian Port 
Arthur fleet might as well have been at Cronstadt 
throughout. Indeed, better; for then it would have 
accompanied Rozhestvensky in concentrated num- 
bers, and the whole Russian navy there assembled, 
in force far superior, would have been a threat to 
the Japanese command of the sea much more effec- 
tive, as a defense to Port Arthur, than was the 
presence of part of that fleet in the port itself. 

The Russian fleet in the Far East, assembled as 
to the main body in Port Arthur, by its mere pres- 
ence under the conditions announced that it was 
there to serve the fortress, to which it was sub- 
sidiary. Concentrated at Vladivostok, to one side 
of the theater of war, and flanking the enemy's line 
of communications to that which must be the chief 
scene of operations, it would have been a clear 
evident declaration that the fortress was subsidiary 
to the ships; that its chief value in the national mili- 
tary scheme was to shelter, and to afford repairs, in 
short, to maintain in efficiency, a body which meant 
to go out to fight, and with a definite object. The 
hapless Rozhestvensky gave voice to this fact in 
an expression which I have found attributed to him 
before the fatal battle at Tsushima: that; if twenty 

Part II: Sea Power in History 

only of the numbers under his command reached 
Vladivostok, the Japanese communications would be 
seriously endangered. This is clear " Fleet in 
Being " theory, and quite undiluted; for it expresses 
the extreme view that the presence of a strong force, 
even though inferior, near the scene of operations, 
will produce a momentous effect upon the enemy's 
action. The extreme school has gone so far as to 
argue that it will stop an expedition; or should do 
so, if the enemy be wise. I have for years contended 
against this view as unsound; as shown to be so his- 
torically. Such a " fleet in being," inferior, should 
not be accepted by an enemy as a sufficient deterrent 
under ordinary circumstances. It has not been in 
the past, and the Japanese did not so accept it. The 
Russian " fleet in being," in Port Arthur, did not 
stop their transportation; although they recognized 
danger from it, and consistently took every step in 
their power to neutralize it. Their operations 
throughout were directed consistently to this end. 
The first partially successful torpedo attack; the 
attempts to block the harbor by sinking vessels; the 
distant bombardments; the mines laid outside; and 
the early institution and persistence in the sic LIT 
operations, all had but one end, the destruction 
of the fleet, in being, within; but, for all that, that 
.fleet did not arrest the transport of the Japanese 

These two simultaneous operations, the transport 
of troops despite the fleet in being, and the persever- 
ing effort at the same time to destroy it or 
neutralize it illustrate what I have called adjust- 

"Fleet in Being" and "Fortress Fleet" 267 

ment between opposite considerations. The danger 
from the fleet in being is recognized, but so also is 
the danger in delaying the initiation of the land 
campaign. The Fleet in Being School would con- 
demn the transportation, so long as the Port Arthur 
fleet existed. It actually did so condemn it. The 
London Times, which is, or then was, under the 
influence of this school, published six weeks before 
the war began a summary of the situation, by naval 
and military correspondents, in which appears this 
statement : " With a hostile fleet behind the guns at 
Port Arthur, the Japanese could hardly venture to 
send troops into the Yellow Sea." And again, four 
weeks later : " It is obvious that, until the Russian 
ships are sunk, captured, or shut up in their ports 
with their wings effectually clipped, there can be no 
security for the sea communications of an expedi- 
tionary force." These are just as clear illustrations 
of the exaggeration inherent in the Fleet in Being 
theory, which assumes the deterrent influence of an 
offensive threatened by inferior force, as the con- 
duct of the Russian naval operations was of the 
inefficiency latent in their theory of Fortress Fleet. 
If security meant the security of peace, these 
Fleet in Being statements could be accepted; but 
military security is an entirely different thing; and 
we know that, coincidently with the first torpedo 
attack, before its result could be known, an expedi- 
tionary Japanese force was sent into the Yellow Sea 
to Chemulpo, and that it rapidly received reinforce- 
ments to the estimated number of fifty or sixty 
thousand. The enterprise in Manchuria, the land- 

268 Part II: Sea Power in History 

ing of troops west of the mouth of the Yalu, was 
delayed for some time two months, more or less. 
What the reason of that delay, and what deter- 
mined the moment of beginning, I do not know; but 
we do know, not only that it was made in face of 
four Russian battleships within Port Arthur, but 
that it continued in face of the increase of their num- 
ber to six by the repair of those damaged in the first 
torpedo attack. As early as May 31, it was known 
in Tokyo that the damaged ships were nearly ready 
for the sortie, which they actually made on June 23. 

It is doubtless open to say that, though the Jap- 
anese did thus venture, they ought not to have done 
so. Note therefore that the Japanese were perfectly 
alive to the risks run. From the first they were ex- 
ceedingly careful of their battleships, knowing that 
on them depended the communications of their 
army. The fact was noted early in the war by 
observers on the spot. This shows that they recog- 
nized the full menace of all the conditions of the 
Russian fleet in Port Arthur, also of the one in the 
Baltic, and of the danger to their communications. 
Nevertheless, though realizing these various dangers 
from the hostile " fleets in being," they ventured. 

About the middle of March, that is, six weeks 
after the war began, a report, partly believed by 
the Japanese authorities, came in that the Port 
Arthur ships had escaped in a snow storm, on 
March 11. It is reported that all transportation 
of troops stopped for some ten days. It may be 
remembered that in our war with Spain, a very 
similar report, from two different and competent 

" Fleet in Being " and " Fortress Fleet " 269 

witnesses, arrested the movement of Shafter's army 
from Key West until it could be verified. In the 
case of the Japanese, as in our own, the incident 
illustrates the possible dangers from a " fleet in 
being." In neither report was there an evident im- 
possibility. Had either proved true the momentary 
danger to communications is evident; but the danger 
is one the chance of which has to be taken. As 
Napoleon said, " War cannot be made without run- 
ning risks." The condition that an enemy's fleet 
watched in port may get out, and may do damage, 
is entirely different from the fact that it has gotten 
out. The possibility is not a sufficient reason for 
stopping transportation; the actual fact is sufficient 
for taking particular precautions, adjusting dis- 
positions to the new conditions, as was done by our- 
selves and by the Japanese in the circumstances. 
The case is wholly different if the enemy has a fleet 
equal or superior; for then he is entirely master of 
his movement, does not depend upon evasion for 
keeping the sea, and communications in such case 
are in danger, not merely of temporary disarrange- 
ment but of permanent destruction. No special 
warning is needed to know this; the note of the 
" Fleet in Being " School is insistence on the para- 
lyzing effect of an inferior fleet. 

Divided Forces 1 

But among the most important lessons of this 
war perhaps the most important, as also one 

1 " Naval Administration and Warfare," Retrospect upon the War 
between Russia and Japan (March, 1906) pp. 167-173. 

270 Part II: Sea Power in History 

easily understood and which exemplifies a principle 
of warfare of ageless application is the inex- 
pediency, the terrible danger, of dividing the battle 
fleet, even in times of peace, into fractions indi- 
vidually smaller than those of a possible enemy. 
The Russian divisions at Port Arthur, at Vladi- 
vostok, and in the European ports of Russia, if 
united, would in 1904 have outweighed decisively 
the navy of Japan, which moreover could receive 
no increase during hostilities. It would have been 
comparatively immaterial, as regards effect upon the 
local field of operations, whether the ships were 
assembled in the Baltic, in Vladivostok, or in Port 
Arthur. Present together, the fleet thus constituted 
could not have been disregarded by Japan without 
a risk transcending beyond comparison that caused 
by the Port Arthur division alone, which the Jap- 
anese deliberately put out of court. For, while they 
undertook, and successfully carried out, measures 
which during a period of four months disabled it as 
a body menacing their sea communications, they none 
the less before the torpedo attack of February 8 
had begun the movement of their army to the con- 
tinent. It is most improbable that they would have 
dared the same had the available Russian navy been 
united. It would have mattered nothing that it 
frozen in in Vladivostok. The case of Japan wouKl 
not have been better, but worse, for having utilized 
the winter to cross her troops to the mainland, if, 
when summer came, the enemy appeared in over- 
whelming naval force. If Togo, in face of Ro- 
zhestvensky's division alone, could signal his fleet, 

"Fleet in Being" and "Fortress Fleet" 271 

:< The salvation or the fall of the Empire depends 
upon the result of this engagement," how much 
more serious the situation had there been with it the 
Port Arthur ships, which had handled his vessels 
somewhat roughly the preceding August. 

To an instructed, thoughtful, naval mind in the 
United States, there is no contingency affecting the 
country, as interested in the navy, so menacing as 
the fear of popular clamor influencing an irresolute, 
or militarily ignorant, administration to divide the 
battleship force into two divisions, the Atlantic and 
the Pacific. A determined President, instructed in 
military matters, doubtless will not yield, but will 
endeavor by explanation to appease apprehension 
and quiet outcry. Nevertheless, the danger exists; 
and always will exist in proportion as the people 
do not understand the simple principle that an 
efficient military body depends for its effect in war 
and in peace less upon its position than upon 
its concentrated force. This does not ignore posi- 
tion, and its value. On the contrary, it is written 
with a clear immediate recollection of Napoleon's 
pregnant saying, " War is a business of positions." 
But the great captain, in the letter in which the 
phrase occurs, goes on directly to instruct the mar- 
shal to whom he is writing so to station the divisions 
of his corps, for purposes of supply, around a 
common center, that they can unite rapidly; and can 
meet the enemy in mass before he can attack any 
one of them, or move far from his present position 
against another important French interest. 

Concentration indeed, in last analysis, may be 

L'7-' Part II: Sea Power in Hlstuiy 

correctly defined as being itself a choice of position; 
viz.: that the various corps, or ships, shall not be 
some in one place, and some in others, but all in 
one place. We Americans have luckily had an 
object lesson, not at our own expense, but at that 
of an old friend. There is commonly believed to 
have be.en little effective public opinion in Russia 
at the time the war with Japan was at hand; such 
as did manifest itself, in the use of dynamite against 
officials, seems not to have taken into consideration 
international relations, military or other. But in 
the councils of the Empire, however constituted, and 
whatever the weight of the military element, there 
was shown in act an absolute disregard of principles 
so simple, so obvious, and so continually enforced 
by precept and experience, that the fact would be 
incomprehensible, had not we all seen, in civil as 
in military life, that the soundest principles, per- 
fectly well known, fail, more frequently than not, 
to sustain conduct against prepossession or inclina- 
tion. That communications dominate strategy, and 
that the communications of Japan in a continental 
war would be by sea, were clear as daylight. That 
the whole navy of Russia, united on the scene, would 
be sufficient, and half of it probably insufficient, cer- 
tainly hazardous, was equally plain. Yet, ship by 
ship, half was assembled in the Far East, until 
Japan saw that this process of division had been 
carried as far as suited her interests and declared 
war; after which of course no Russian battleship 
could go forward alone. 

1 rom the military point of view the absurdity of 

"Fleet in Being" and "Fortress Fleet" 273 

the procedure is clear; but for national safety it 
has to be equally clear to statesmen and to people. 
An outside observer, with some little acquired 
knowledge of the workings of men's minds, needs 
small imagination to hear the arguments at the 
Russian council board. " Things are looking squally 
in the East," says one; "the fleet ought to be in- 
creased." " Increased," says another, " you may 
say so. All the ships we have ought to be sent, and 
together, the instant they can be got ready." " Oh 
but," rejoins a third, " consider how exposed our 
Baltic shores would be, in case war against us 
should be declared by Great Britain, which already 
has an understanding with Japan." The obvious 
reply, that, in case Great Britain did declare war, 
the only thing to be done with the Baltic fleet would 
be to snuggle it close inside of the guns of Cron- 
stadt, would probably be made; if it was, it was not 
heeded. In a representative government would 
doubtless have been heard the further remark, 
" The feeling in our coast towns, at seeing no 
ship left for their protection, would be so strong, 
that I doubt if the party could carry the next elec- 
tion." Against this there is no provision, except 
popular understanding; operative perhaps in the 
interior, whe*-e there is no occasion for fright. 

The most instructive feature of this Russian mis- 
take, inexcusable in a government not browbeaten 
by political turmoil, is that it was made in time of 
peace, in the face of conditions threatening war. In 
fact, as is often the case, when war came it was al- 
ready too late to remedy adequately the blunders 

274 Part II: Sea Power in History 

or neglects of peace. More than twenty years ago 
the present writer had occasion to quote emphati- 
cally the words of a French author, " Naval Strat- 
egy " naval strategic considerations " is as 
necessary in peace as in war." In 1904, nearly a 
decade had elapsed since Japan had been despoiled 
of much of her gains in her war with China. Since 
then Russia had been pursuing a course of steady 
aggression, in furtherance of her own aims, and con- 
trary to what Japan considered her " vital interests 
and national honor." It is not necessary to pro- 
nounce between the views of the two parties to see 
that the action of Russia was militarily preposterous, 
unless her fleet grew in proportion to that of Japan, 
and of her own purposes, and was kept in hand; 
that is, kept concentrated. It would have mattered 
little whether, being united, the outbreak of war 
found it in the Baltic, or in Vladivostok. That it 
could come, as did Rozhestvensky, but in double his 
force, would have been a fact no less emphatic when 
in the Baltic than in the farther East. 

It is precisely the same, in application as well as 
in principle, with the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of 
the United States. Both are exposed. Neither need 
be more exposed than the other; for, in virtue of our 
geographical position relatively to the other great 
Powers of the world, it is not the momentary loca- 
tion of the fleet, but its simple existence, adequate 
in numbers and efficiency, and concentrated in force, 
which protects both coasts. Any invader from the 
one side or the other must depend upon sea com- 
munications to support his army throughout the war; 

" Fleet in Being " and " Fortress Fleet " 275 

not merely for the three months needed to bring 
the United States fleet from one side to the other. 
But, if the war begin with the fleet divided between 
the two oceans, one half may be overmatched and 
destroyed, as was that of Port Arthur; and the 
second on coming prove unequal to restore the situa- 
tion, as befell Rozhestvensky. That is to say, Con- 
centration protects both coasts, Division exposes 

ARTHUR. So they will comprehend as well as 


[** I A HE Russian fleet under Rozhestvensky left 
* Libau October 15, 1904; reached Madagascar 
January i, 1905, the day of the surrender of Port 
Arthur; and entered the Korea or Tsushima Straits 
on the morning of May 26. A part of the auxili- 
aries had been left in the mouth of the Yang- 
tse River, but the hospital and repair ships and those 
laden with naval stores were with the fleet. Accord- 
ing to testimony at the court martial of Admiral 
Rozhestvensky, the battleships entered the straits 
with coal for three thousand miles, though the 
distance from the Saddle Islands to Vladivostok 
was but nine hundred. EDITOR.] 

Criticism here is another case of inferring in- 
tentions from actions; but, when the various parts 
of Rozhestvensky's conduct are taken together, the 
inference is nearly irresistible that the exaggerated 
estimate of the influence of an inferior fleet in being 
possessed his imagination. Besides the excessive 
coal stowage, he took with him a train of transports, 
a notorious source of tactical embarrassment in bat- 
tle, though doubtless equally a source of refitment, 
if he got them to Vladivostok; and there is no evi- 
dence of any attempt at advanced scouting on his 
own part, or of driving off, as he might have done, 

1 "Naval Strategy," pp. 416-420. 

Rozhestvensky at Tsushima 277 

the Japanese scouts which showed up; the result 
being that Togo knew all about his dispositions, and 
he knew nothing about Togo's until he saw the 
enemy's main body. 

Now I say, that, while all this was bad manage- 
ment in the face of the enemy, and in so far bad 
tactics, the bad tactics issued from an error of 
strategy; and the error in strategy was due to the 
lack of unity of conception, of that exclusiveness of 
purpose, which is the essence of strategy, and which 
subordinates, adjusts, all other factors and con- 
siderations to the one exclusive aim. While writing 
these pages, I came across a few lines by one of the 
first of German philosophical historians, Ranke, in 
one of his greatest works, " England in the Seven- 
teenth Century." They apply to policy, but policy 
is twin brother to strategy. Permit me to quote 

" Why did William III get the better of James II 
in Ireland? Because he always kept his one great 
idea before his eyes, amid the many perplexing cir- 
cumstances which surrounded him. The decision 
which he displayed at every moment rested upon the 
fact that he had only one end, and that the one 
imposed by the course of things" 

Apply this to Rozhestvensky. The one end im- 
posed on him by the course of things was the de- 
struction of the Japanese fleet, which comprised 
every armored vessel Japan could possibly muster 
for that war. Togo's signal 1 before the battle 

i "The rise or fall of the Empire depends upon to-day's battle. Let 
every man do his utmost." EDITOR. 

278 Part II: Sea Power in History 

recognized this one end, and there was no reason 
why his opponent should not have recognized it 
equally. To reach Vladivostok was only a means 
to that end; an object most important, because, if 


attained, it would put the Russians in the best pos- 
sible condition for battle. But this by no means 
superseded the one necessary aim, battle. More, 
it did not even postpone that aim, as a mat- 
ter of immediate consideration and preparation; 
for, though escape through to Vladivostok might 
be possible, it was not certain. It was not even 

Rozhestvensky at Tsushima 279 

probable, under all the conditions. Therefore, 
while every forethought and care should have been 
to effect escape, if possible, they should have been 
accompanied with the clear decision that, should 
battle be forced, the fighting should have been quali- 
fied by no thought of escape, and the fleet, like a ship 
cleared for action, should have been stripped of all 
fleet encumbrances from the moment of leaving the 
Saddles. A fleet is half beaten already when it goes 
into battle with one eye upon something else than 

If Rozhestvensky had recognized these facts, in 
their due importance and proportion, and had been 
convinced that battle was his one aim, and that there 
was at least a very real possibility that he could not 
postpone it till after Vladivostok, it seems to me he 
must have reasoned thus : I must have coal enough 
to reach Vladivostok, on a reasonable calculation of 
the distance, and of the expenditures of the ships; 
both which were known. To this amount add a 
fair margin of safety. This total should be carried 
for the purpose of escape, if feasible; with perhaps 
an addition sufficient to last during battle, with 
funnels pierced, which was a likely accident. Again, 
there is for each ship a draft of water which best 
meets her maneuvering needs. The chances are that 
the enemy will await us either in the narrower part 
of the sea, or near his navy yards. As there is one 
position, that in the Straits of Korea, which favors 
both these objects, it is there I will probably have 
to fight, if at all. Therefore, as far as possible, the 
cod carried by the fleet on starting should be such 

280 Part II: Sea Power in History 

that consumption up to the moment of reaching the 
straits will put them in their best tactical trim. The 
coal supply needed to reach Vladivostok is thus 
adjusted to the exigencies of battle. 

Then as regards the transports. For the mo- 
ment, on this last fateful stretch, they are absolutely 
of no consequence as affecting results. The adjust- 
ment of them, to the end of the battle, is to dismiss 
them out of mind and presence. If beaten, the loss 
of them will not be of the slightest consequence to 
Russia; if successful, they can be summoned from an 
appointed rendezvous, and escorted to a destination 
under such protection as may then seem expedient. 
An Austrian officer has suggested that if the whole 
body had weighed together, and at night had sep- 
arated, the supply vessels proceeding under con- 
voy by the east of Japan might have escaped notice; 
or, if seen, this report might have perplexed Togo, 
rather than enlightened him. Upon the suggestion 
I make no comment, other than that it would have 
been one way of counting out the supply ships. 

The imminency of the occasion should have 
drawn, and did draw, all Japan's fighting force to 
the Straits of Korea, an element for Rozhestven- 
sky's consideration. According to Semenoff the 
auxiliary steamers Terek and Kuban were sent off 
the east coast expressly to draw attention, but met 
no one, and their presence was unknown to the 

I am not disposed to question, or to doubt, that 
if the Russian squadron had escaped Togo, and if 
the separated supply train had been intercepted, it 

Rozhestvensky at Tsushima 281 

would have been very embarrassing to the ships of 
war refitting at Vladivostok. Nor do I question 
that, in case of such escape, the coal remaining in 
consequence of the deck loads taken would have 
been of much value for future operations. The 
more real and the greater those distracting con- 
siderations, like those of William III in Ireland, 
the more do they throw into relief the greatness, 
as well as the necesssity, of subordinating them to 
the one thing needful, namely, to be ready to the 
utmost on the day of battle. They illustrate, too, 
how misleading is the disposition to compromise, to 
concede something all around; to straddle the two 
horses, escape and battle. 

Rozhestvensky's course was a compromise, a mix- 
up of escape and fighting; a strategic blunder to 
begin with, in not concentrating attention on the one 
needful thing clearly indicated by the course of 
events, and hence resulting necessarily in a series 
of blunders, which comprehensively may be called 
tactical. They all hang together, as the results of 
a frame of mind; the overloading with coal, the in- 
creased danger of fire therefrom, the submersion of 
the armor belts, the loss of speed and tactical 
capacity, the neglect of scouting, the company of the 
transports, each of which is a tactical error, 
all proceed from the failure to observe that the one 
governing consideration of strategy, in this war, 
was a naval battle under the most favorable con- 
ditions. It is the repetition of the mistakes of the 
Port Arthur division. When it becomes clearly 
imminent that one may have to fight under con- 

282 Part II: Sea Power in History 

ditions less favorable than one would desire, con- 
ditions are changed; but there is no change of the 
principles involved. Vladivostok reached, the prin- 
ciple would have required the utmost preparation 
the yard offered, in the least possible time, so as to 
be the most fit possible to fight. At the Saddles, 
the same fitness required the dismissal from influence 
upon conduct of all thought of Vladivostok, and of 
supplies there, so far as such thought might modify 
the preparation for probable battle. It seems very 
probable that the defective conceptions deducible 
from Rozhestvensky's conduct were emphasized and 
reinforced by the heavy preoccupations about sup- 
plies, necessarily incidental to his anxious outward 
voyage. His mind and morale had got a twist, a 
permanent set, from which they could not recover. 



The Annexation of Hawaii 

[ AS the date indicates, the essay was written at the 
"* * time of the Revolution in Hawaii, sixj/^arsjbe- 
fore its annexation. The part of the essay preced- 
ing points out the predominant interest of the United 
States in the Islands owing to their control of our 
trade routes and naval approaches, and refers to 
the benefit to the world from British colonial 
expansion. EDITOR.] 

But if a plea of the world's welfare seem sus- 
piciously like a cloak for national self-interest, let 
the latter be accepted frankly as the adequate mo- 
tive which it assuredly is. Let us not shrink from 
pitting a broad self-interest against the narrow self- 
interest to which some would restrict us. The de- 
mands of our three great seaboards, the Atlantic, 
the Gulf, and the Pacific, each for itself, and all 
for the strength that comes from drawing closer 
the ties between them, are calling for the exten- 
sion, through the Isthmian Canal, of that broad 
sea common along which, and along which alone, in 

1 "The Interest of America in Sea Power," Hawaii and Our Future 
Sea Power (1893), pp. 5i~54. 

286 Part III: Naval and National Policies 

all the ages prosperity has moved. Land carriage, 
always restricted and therefore always slow, toils 
enviously but hopelessly behind, vainly seeking to 
replace and supplant the royal highway of nature's 
own making. Corporate interests, vigorous in that 
power of concentration which is the strength of 
armies and of minorities, may here withstand for 
a while the ill-organized strivings of the multitude, 
only dimly conscious of its wants; yet the latter, how- 
ever temporarily opposed and baffled, is sure at last, 
like the blind forces of nature, to overwhelm all 
that stand in the way of its necessary progress. So 
the Isthmian Canal is an inevitable part in the future 
of the United States ; yet one that cannot be separated 
from other necessary incidents of a policy dependent 
upon it, whose details cannot be foreseen exactly. 
But because the precise steps that hereafter may be 
opportune or necessary cannot yet be foretold cer- 
tainly, is not a reason the less, but a reason the more, 
for establishing a principle of action which may 
serve to guide as opportunities arise. Let us start 
from the fundamental truth, warranted by history, 
that the control of the seas, and especially along the 
great lines drawn by national interest or national 
commerce, is the chief among the merely material 
elements in the power and prosperity of nations. 
It is so because the sea is the world's great medium 
of circulation. From this necessarily follows the 
principle that, as subsidiary to such control, it is 
imperative to take possession, when it can be done 
righteously, of such maritime positions as contribute 
to secure command. If this principle be adopted, 

Expansion and Over-Sea Bases 287 

there will be no hesitation about taking the posi- 
tions and they are many upon the approaches 
to the Isthmus, whose interests incline them to seek 
us. It has its application also to the present case of 

There is, however, one caution to be given from 
the military point of view, beyond the need of which 
the world has not yet passed. Military positions, 
fortified posts, by land or by sea, however strong 
or admirably situated, do not confer control by 
themselves alone. People often say that such an 
island or harbor will give control of such a body 
of water. It is an utter, deplorable, ruinous mistake. 
The phrase indeed may be used by some only 
loosely, without forgetting other implied conditions 
of adequate protection and adequate navies; but the 
confidence of our own nation in its native strength, 
and its indifference to the defense of its ports and 
the sufficiency of its fleet, give reason to fear that 
the full consequences of a forward step may not be 
weighed soberly. Napoleon, who knew better, once 
talked this way. " The islands of San Pietro, 
Corfu, and Malta," he wrote, " will make us mas- 
ters of the whole Mediterranean." Vain boast! 
Within one year Corfu, in two years Malta, were 
rent away from the state that could not support 
them by its ships. Nay, more: had Bonaparte not 
taken the latter stronghold out of the hands of its 
degenerate but innocuous government, that citadel 
of the Mediterranean would perhaps would 
probably never have passed into those of his 
chief enemy. There is here also a lesson for us. 

Anglo-American Community of Interests 

r*HE writer has too often already discussed, 
* directly or incidentally, the strategic situation 
which finds its center in Panama to repeat the same 
here; but one or two remarks about the Monroe doc- 
trine may be not out of place. Accepting as probably 
durable the new conditions, which have so largely 
modified the nation's external policy in the direction 
of expansion, there is in them nothing to diminish, 
but rather to intensify, the purpose that there shall 
be no intrusion of the European political system 
upon territory whence military effect upon the 
Isthmus of Panama can be readily exerted. For 
instance, should a change anticipated by some occur, 
and Holland enter the German Empire, it will be 
advantageous that it should even now be under- 
stood, as it then would be necessary for us to say, 
that our consent could not be given to Curasao 
forming part of that incorporation. The Isthmus 
of Panama in addition to its special importance 
to us as a link between our Pacific and Atlantic 
coasts sums up in itself that one of the two great 
lines of communication between the Atlantic and the 
farther East which especially concerns us, and we 
can no more consent to such a transfer of a fortress 

1 "The Problem of Asia" (1900), pp. 133-144. 

Application of the Monroe Doctrine 289 

in the Caribbean, than we would ourselves have 
thought of acquiring Port Mahon, in the Mediter- 
ranean, as a result of our successful war with Spain. 
Consideration of interests such as these must be 
dispassionate upon the one side and upon the other; 
and a perfectly candid reception must be accorded 
to the views and the necessities of those with whom 
we thus deal. During the process of deliberation 
not merely must preconceptions be discarded, but 
sentiment itself should be laid aside, to resume its 
sway only after unbiassed judgment has done its 
work. The present question of Asia, the evolution 
of which has taken days rather than years, may 
entail among its results no change in old maxims, 
but it nevertheless calls for a review of them in the 
light of present facts. If from this no difference of 
attitude results, the confirmed resolve of sober 
second thought will in itself alone be a national 
gain. This new Eastern question has greatly 
affected the importance of communications, enhanc- 
ing that of the shorter routes, reversing political 
and military as distinguished from mercantile 
conditions, and bringing again into the foreground 
of interest the Mediterranean, thus reinvested with 
its ancient pre-eminence. For the same reason the 
Caribbean Sea, because of its effect upon the Isth- 
mus of Panama, attains a position it has never be- 
fore held, emphasizing the application to it of the 
Monroe doctrine. The Pacific has advanced mani- 
fold in consequence to the United States, not only 
as an opening market, but as a means of transit, 
and also because our new possessions there, by 

290 Part III: Naval and National Policies 

giving increased opportunities, entail correspond- 
ingly heavier burdens of national responsibility. 
The isthmian canals, present and to come, Suez 
and Panama, summarize and locally accentuate 
the essential character of these changes, of which 
they are at once an exponent and a factor. It will 
be no light matter that man shall have shifted the 
Strait of Magellan to the Isthmus of Panama, and 
the Cape of Good Hope to the head of the Medi- 

The correlative of these new conditions is the 
comparative isolation, and the dwindled conse- 
quence, of the southern extremes of Africa and 
America, which now lie far apart from the changed 
direction imposed upon the world's policies. The 
(regions there situated will have small effect upon 
the great lines of travel, and must derive such im- 
portance as may remain to them from their intrinsic 
productive value. Does there, then, remain sound 
reason of national interest for pressing the Monroe 
doctrine to the extent of guaranteeing our support 
to American states which love us not, and whose 
geographical position, south of the valley of the 
Amazon, lies outside of effective influence upon the 
American isthmus? Does the disposition to do so 
arise from sound policy, or from sentiment, or from 
mere habit? And, if from either, do the facts 
justify retaining a burden of responsibility which 
may embarrass our effective action in fields of 
greater national consequence just as South Africa 
may prove a drain upon Great Britain's necessary 
force about Suez? In short, while the principles 

Application of the Monroe Doctrine 291 

upon which the Monroe doctrine reposes are not 
only unimpaired, but fortified, by recent changes, 
is it not possible that the application of them may 
require modification, intensifying their force in one 
quarter, diminishing it in another? 

Not the least striking and important of the con- 
ditions brought about by the two contemporary 
events the downfall of the Spanish colonial em- 
pire and the precipitation of the crisis in eastern 
Asia has been the drawing closer together of the 
two great English-speaking nationalities. Despite 
recalcitrant objections here and there by unwilling 
elements on both sides, the fact remains concrete 
and apparent, endued with essential life, and con- 
sequent inevitable growth, by virtue of a clearly 
recognized community of interest, present and 
future. It is no mere sentimental phase, though 
sentiment, long quietly growing, had sufficiently 
matured to contribute its powerful influence at the 
opportune moment; but here, as ever, there was 
first the material, identity of interest, and not 
till afterwards the spiritual, reciprocity of feel- 
ing, aroused to mutual recognition by the causes 
and motives of the Spanish war. That war, and 
the occurrences attendant, proclaimed emphatically 
that the two countries, in their ideals of duty to the 
suffering and oppressed, stood together, indeed, but 
in comparative isolation from the sympathies of 
the rest of the world. 1 

1 "The writer has been assured, by an authority in which he en- 
tirely trusts, that to a proposition made to Great Britain (at the time of 
the Spanish-American War) to enter into a combination to constrain the 
use of our power, as Japan was five years ago constrained by the joint 

292 Part III: Naval and National Policies 

The significance of this fact has been accentuated 
by the precision with which in the United States the 
preponderance of intelligence has discerned, and 
amid many superficially confusing details has kept 
in mind, as the reasonable guide to its sympathies, 
that the war in the Transvaal is simply a belated 
revival of the issue on which our own Revolution 
was fought, viz., that when representation is denied, 
taxation is violent oppression. The principle is 
common to Great Britain and to us, woven into the 
web of all her history, despite the momentary aber- 
ration which led to our revolt. The twofold in- 
cident the two wars and the sympathies aroused, 
because in both each nation recognized community 
of principle and of ideals indicates another great 
approximation to the unity of mankind; which will 
arrive in good time, but which is not to be hurried 
by force or by the impatience of dreamers. The 
outcome of the civil war in the United States, the 
unification of Italy, the new German Empire, the 
growing strength of the idea of Imperial Federa- 
tion in Great Britain, all illustrate the tendency of 
humanity to aggregate into greater groups, which 
in the instances cited have resulted in political com- 
bination more or less formal and clearly defined. 
To the impulse and establishment of each of these 
steps in advance, war has played a principal part. 
War it was which preserved our Union. War it 
was which completed the political unity of Italy, 

action of Russia, France, and Germany, the reply was not only a 
passive refusal to enter into such combination, but an assurance of 
resistance to it, if attempted." Mahan, "The Problem of 
Asia" (1900), p. 187. EDITOR. 

Application of the Monroe Doctrine 293 

and brought the Germans into that accord of senti- 
ment and of recognized interest upon which rest the 
foundations and the continuance of their empire. 
War it is which has but now quickened the spirit of 
sympathy between Great Britain and her colonies, 
and given to Imperial Federation an acceleration 
into concrete action which could not otherwise have 
been imparted; and it needed the stress of war, the 
threat of outside interference with a sister nation 
in its mission of benevolence, to quicken into positive 
action the sympathy of Great Britain with the United 
States, and to dispose the latter to welcome gladly 
and to return cordially the invaluable support thus 

War is assuredly a very great evil; not the great- 
est, but among the greatest which afflict humanity. 
Yet let it be recognized at this moment, when the 
word " Arbitration " has hold of popular imagina- 
tion, more perhaps by the melody of its associations, 
like the " Mesopotamia " of the preacher, than 
by virtue of a reasonable consideration of both sides 
of the question, of which it represents only one, that 
within two years two wars have arisen, the righteous 
object of either of which has been unattainable by 
milder methods. When the United States went to 
war with Spain, four hundred thousand of the 
latter's colonial subjects had lost their lives by the 
slow misery of starvation, inflicted by a measure 
Reconcentration which was intended, but had 
proved inadequate, to suppress an insurrection in- 
cited by centuries of oppression and by repeated 
broken pledges. The justification of that war rests 

Part III: Naval and National Polic; 

upon, our right to interfere on grounds of simple 
humanity, and upon the demonstrated inability of 
Spain to rule her distant colonies by methods un- 
harmful to the governed. It was impossible to 
accept renewed promises, not necessarily through 
distrust of their honesty, but because political in- 
capacity to give just and good administration had 
been proved by repeated failures. 

The justification of Great Britain's war with the 
Transvaal rests upon a like right of interference 
to relieve oppression and upon the broad general 
principle for which our colonial ancestors fought the 
mother-country over a century ago, that " taxation 
without representation is tyranny." Great Britain, 
indeed, did not demand the franchise for her mis- 
governed subjects, domiciled abroad; she only sug- 
gested it as a means whereby they might, in return 
for producing nine tenths of the revenue, obtain fair 
treatment from the state which was denying it to 
them. But be it remembered, not only that a 
cardinal principle upon which English and American 
liberty rests was being violated, but that at the time 
when the foreigners were encouraged to enter the 
Transvaal franchise was attainable by law in five 
years, while before the five years had expired the 
law was changed, and the privilege withdrawn by 
ex post facto act. 

In each of these wars one of the two nations 
which speak the English tongue has taken a part, 
and in each the one engaged has had outspoken 
sympathy from the other, and from the other alone. 
The fact has been less evident in the Transvaal war, 

Application of the Monroe Doctrine 295 

partly because the issue has been less clear, or less 
clearly put, chiefly because many foreign-born citi- 
zens of the United States still carry with them the 
prepossessions of their birthplace, rather than those 
which should arise from perception of their country's 

Nevertheless, the foundations stand sure. We 
have begun to know each other, in community of 
interest and of traditions, in ideals of equality and 
of law. As the realization of this spreads, the two 
states, in their various communities, will more and 
more closely draw together in the unity of spirit, 
and all the surer that they eschew the bondage of 
the letter of alliance. 


THE occidentalization of Japan, in methods al- 
though not in national spirit, which changes 
much more slowly, has been fully demonstrated to 
an astonished world by the war of 1894 with China. 
It is one of the incidents of the closing nineteenth 
century. To this achievement In the military sphere, 
in the practice of war which Napoleon called the 
science of barbarians, must be added the develop- 
ment of civil institutions that has resulted in the 
concession to Japan of all international dignity and 
privilege; and consequently of a control over the 
administration of justice among foreigners within 
her borders, not heretofore obtained by any other 
Oriental State. It has thus become evident that the 
weight of Japan in the international balances de- 
pends not upon the quality of her achievement, 
which has been shown to be excellent, but upon the 
gross amount of her power. Moreover, while in 
wealth and population, with the resources dependent 
upon them, she may be deficient, though rapidly 
growing, her geographical position relatively to 
the Eastern center of interest, and her advantage 
of insularity, go far to compensate such defect. 
These confer upon her as a factor in the Eastern 

1 "Retrospect and Proipect" (1902), pp. 15-17. 

Changes in the United States and Japan 297 

problem an influence resembling in kind, if not 
equaling in degree, that which Great Britain has 
held and still holds in the international relations 
centering around Europe, the Atlantic, and the 

Yet the change in Japan, significant as it is and 
influential upon the great problem of the Pacific and 
Asia, is less remarkable and less important than that 
which has occurred in the United States. If in the 
Orient a nation may be said to have been born in a 
day, even so the event is less sudden and less revo- 
lutionary than the conversion of spirit and of ideals 
the new birth which has come over cur own 
country. In this are evident a rapidity and a 
thoroughness which bespeak impulse from an ex- 
ternal source rather than any conscious set process 
of deliberation, of self-determination within, such 
as has been that of Japan in her recognition and 
adoption of material improvements forced upon her 
attention in other peoples. No man or group of 
men can pretend to have guided and governed our 
people in the adoption of a new policy, the accept- 
ance of which has been rather instinctive I would 
prefer to say inspired than reasoned. There is 
just this difference between Japan and ourselves, the 
two most changed of peoples within the last half- 
century. She has adopted other methods; we have 
received another purpose. The one conversion is 
material, the other spiritual. When we talk about 
expansion we are in the realm of ideas. The 
material addition of expansion the acreage, if I 
may so say is trivial compared with our previous 

298 Part III: Naval and National Policies 

possessions, or with the annexations by European 
states within a few years. The material profit 
otherwise, the national gain to us, is at best doubtful. 
What the nation has gained in expansion is a regen- 
erating idea, an uplifting of the heart, a seed of 
future beneficent activity, a going out of self into the 
world to communicate the gift it has so bountifully 


preceding pages of the essay explain the de- 
pendence of the " Open Door " policy on an 
international balance of power in the Pacific, and 
the modification of this balance owing to the growth 
of the German Navy and the increasing European 
tension. EDITOR.] 

The result is to leave the two chief Pacific nations, 
the United States and Japan, whose are the only 
two great navies that have coastlines on that ocean, 
to represent there the balance of power. This is 
the best security for international peace; because it 
represents, not a bargain, but a fact, readily ascer- 
tainable. Those two navies are more easily able 
than any other to maintain there a concentration of 
force ; and it may even be questioned whether sound 
military policy may not make the Pacific rather than 
the Atlantic the station for the United States battle 
fleet. For the balance of naval power in Europe, 
which compels the retention of the British and Ger- 
man fleets in the North Sea, protects the Atlantic 
coast of the United States, and the Monroe 
Doctrine, to a degree to which nothing in Pacific 
conditions corresponds. Under existing circum- 
stances, neither Germany nor Great Britain can 

1 "The Interest of America in International Conditions," The Open 
Door (1910), pp. 198-202. 

300 Part III: Naval and National Policies 

afford, even did they desire, to infringe the external 
policy of the United States represented in the 
Monroe Doctrine. 

With Japan in the Pacific, and in her attitude 
towards the Open Door, the case is very different 
from that of European or American Powers. Her 
nearness to China, Manchuria, Korea, gives the 
natural commercial advantages that short and rapid 
transportation always confers. Labor with her is 
still cheap, another advantage in open competition; 
but the very fact of these near natural markets, and 
her interest in them, cannot but breed that sense of 
proprietorship which, in dealing with ill-organized 
states, easily glides into the attempt at political con- 
trol that ultimately means control by force. Hence 
the frequent reports, true or untrue, that such ad- 
vantage is sought and accomplished. Whether true 
or not, these illustrate what nations continually seek, 
when opportunity offers or can be made. This is in 
strict line with that which we call Protection; but 
with the difference that Protection is exercised within 
the sphere commonly recognized as legitimate, 
either by International Law or by the policy of 
competing states. The mingled weakness and per- 
verseness of Chinese negotiators invite such attempt, 
and endanger the Open Door; give rise to continual 
suspicion that undue influence resting upon force is 
affecting equality of treatment, or is establishing a 
basis for inequality in the future. There can be no 
question that the general recent attitude of Russia 
and Japan, however laudably meant, does arouse 
such suspicions. 

Our Interests in the Pacific 301 

Then again, the American possession, the Ha- 
waiian Islands, are predominantly Japanese in labor 
population; a condition which, as the outcome of 
little more than a generation, warrants the jealousy 
of Japanese immigration on the part of the Pacific 
coast. Finally, the population of that coast is 
relatively scanty, and its communications with the 
East, though rapid for express trains, are slow for 
the immense traffic of men and stores which war 
implies and requires. That is, the power of the 
country east of the Rocky Mountains has far to go, 
and with poor conveyance, in order to reinforce the 
Western Coast; the exact opposite of our advantage 
of rapid maritime access to the Panama Canal. In 
the absence of the fleet, invasion may be easy. 
Harm may be retrieved in measure by the arrival of 
the fleet later; but under present world conditions 
the Pacific coast seems incomparably the more ex- 
posed of the three great divisions of the American 
shore line the Atlantic, the Gulf, and the Pacific. 


THE prototype of modern Germany is to be found 
rather in the Roman Empire, to which in a 
certain sense the present German Empire may be 
said to be if not heir at least historically 
affiliated. The Holy Roman Empire merged into 
that somewhat extenuated figment attached to the 
Austrian Hapsburgs, which finally deceased at the 
opening of the nineteenth century; but the idea itself 
survived, and was influential in determining the 
form and name which the existing powerful Ger- 
manic unity has assumed. To this unity the national 
German character contributes an element not unlike 
that of antiquity, in the subordination of the in- 
dividual to the state. As a matter of national 
characteristic, this differs radically from the more 
modern conception of the freedom and rights of the 
individual, exemplified chiefly in England and the 
United States. It is possible to accept the latter as 
the superior ideal, as a higher stage of advance, as 
ultimately more fruitful of political progress, yet 
at the same time to recognize the great immediate 
advantage of the massed action which subordinates 
the interests of the individual, sinks the unit in the 
whole, in order to promote the interests of the com- 
munity. It may be noted incidentally, without 

1 "The Interest of America in International Condition!" (1910), 

The German State and its Menace 303 

further insistence just here, that the Japanese 
Empire, which in a different field from the German 
is manifesting the same restless need for self- 
assertion and expansion, comes to its present with 
the same inheritance from its past, of the submer- 
gence of the individual in the mass. It was equally 
the characteristic of Sparta among the city states 
of ancient Greece, and gave to her among them the 
preponderance she for a time possessed. As an 
exhibition of social development, it is generally 
anterior and inferior to that in which the rights of 
the individual are more fully recognized; but as an 
element of mere force, whether in economics or m 
international policies, it is superior. 

The two contrasted conceptions, the claims of the 
individual and the claims of the state, are familiar 
to all students of history. The two undoubtedly 
must coexist everywhere, and have to be reconciled; 
but the nature of the adjustment, in the clear pre- 
dominance of the one or the other, constitutes a 
difference which in effect upon the particular com- 
munity is fundamental. In international relations, 
between states representing the opposing ideas, it 
reproduces the contrast between the simple dis- 
cipline of an army and the complicated disseminated 
activities of the people, industrial, agricultural, and 
commercial. It repeats the struggle of the many 
minor mercantile firms against a single great com- 
bination. In either field, whatever the ultimate 
issue, a nd in the end the many will prevail, 
the immediate result is that preponderant concen- 
trated force has its way for a period which may thus 

304 Part III: Naval and National Policies 

be one of great and needless distress; and it not 
only has its way, but it takes its way, because, what- 
ever progress the world has made, the stage has not 
been reached when men or states willingly sub- 
ordinate their own interests to even a reasonable 
regard for that of others. It is not necessary to 
indulge in pessimistic apprehension, or to deny 
that there is a real progress of the moral forces 
lumped under the name of " public opinion." This 
unquestionably tells for much more than it once did; 
but still the old predatory instinct, that he should 
take who has the power, survives, in industry and 
commerce, as well as in war, and moral force is not 
sufficient to determine issues unless supported by 
physical. Governments are corporations, and cor- 
porations have not souls. Governments moreover 
are trustees, not principals; and as such must put 
first the lawful interests of their wards, their own 

It matters little what may be the particular in- 
tentions now cherished by the German government. 
The fact upon which the contemporary world needs 
to fasten its attention is that it is confronted by the 
simple existence of a power such as is that of the 
man Empire; reinforced necessarily by that of 
Austria-Hungary, because, whatever her internal 
troubles and external ambitions, Austria is bound 
to Germany by nearness, by inferior power, and by 
interests, partly common to the two states, as surely 
as the moon is bound to the earth and with it con- 
stitutes a single group in the planetary system. 
Over against this stands for the moment a number 

The German State and its Menace 305 

of states, Russia, Italy, France, Great Britain. The 
recent action of Russia has demonstrated her inter- 
national weakness, the internal causes of which are 
evident even to the most careless observer. Italy 
still belongs to the Triple Alliance, of which Ger- 
many and Austria are the other members; but the 
inclination of Italy towards England, springing 
from past sympathies, and as a state necessarily 
naval, because partly insular, partly peninsular, is 
known, as is also her recent drawing towards France 
as compared with former estrangement. Also, in 
the Balkan regions and in the Adriatic Sea there is 
more than divergence between the interest of Italy 
and the ambitions of Austria, supported by Ger- 
many, as shown in the late annexations and their 
antecedents. An Austrian journal, which fore- 
shadowed the annexations with singular acumen, 
has written recently, 1 " We most urgently need a 
fleet so strong that it can rule the Northern 
Adriatic basin," in which lies the Italian Venice, 
as well as the Austrian Trieste, " support the 
operations of our land army, protect our chief com- 
mercial ports against hostile maritime undertakings, 
and prevent us from being throttled at the Strait of 
Otranto. To do this, the fleet must at least attain 
the approximate strength of our probable enemy. 
If we lag behind in developing our naval programme, 
Italy will so outrun us that we can never overtake 
her. Here more than elsewhere to stand still is to 
recede; but to recede would be to renounce the his- 
torical mission of Austria." The Austrian Dread- 

1 The Mail, April 20, 1910. 

306 Part 111: Naval and National Policies 

noughts are proceeding, and the above throws an 
interesting side light upon the equipoise of the 
Triple Alliance. In the Algeciras Conference, con- 
cerning the affairs of Morocco, Italy did not sustain 
Germany; Austria only did so. 

Analyzing thus the present international relations 
of Europe, we find on the one side the recently con- 
stituted Triple Entente, France, Great Britain, and 
Russia; on the other the Triple Alliance, Austria- 
Hungary, Germany, and Italy, of thirty years' 
standing. The sympathies of Italy, as distinguished 
from the pressure of conditions upon her, and from 
her formal association, are doubtful; and the essen- 
tials of the situation seem to be summed up in the 
Triple Entente opposed by the two mid-Europe 
military monarchies. 

The Bulwark of British Sea Power l 

[The intervening pages show that exposure on 
their land frontiers would weaken the aid that could 
be given Great Britain by her allies in continental 
Europe. EDITOR.] 

These conclusions, if reasonable, not only em- 
phasize the paramount importance in world politics 
of the British navy, but they show also that there 
are only two naval states which can afford to help 
Great Britain with naval force, because they alone 
have no land frontiers which march with those 
of Germany. These states are Japan and the 
United States. In looking to the future, it becomes 

1 "The Interest of America in International Conditions" (1910), 
pp. 161-164. 

The German State and its Menace 307 

for them a question whether it will be to their in- 
terest, whether they can afford, to exchange the 
naval supremacy of Great Britain for that of Ger- 
many; for this alternative may arise. Those two 
states and Germany cannot, as matters now stand, 
touch one another, except on the open sea; whereas 
the character of the British Empire is such that it 
has everywhere sea frontiers, is everywhere assail- 
able where local naval superiority does not exist, 
as for instance in Australia, and other Eastern 
possessions. The United States has upon Great 
Britain the further check of Canada, open to land 

A German navy, supreme by the fall of Great 
Britain, with a supreme German army able to spare 
readily a large expeditionary force for over-sea 
operations, is one of the possibilities of the future. 
Great Britain for long periods, in the Seven Years 
War and Napoleonic struggle, 1756-1815, has been 
able to do, and has done, just this; not because she 
has had a supreme army, but because, thanks to her 
insular situation, her naval supremacy covered effec- 
tually both the home positions and the expedition. 
The future ability of Germany thus to act is em- 
phasized to the point of probability by the budge- 
tary difficulties of Great Britain, by the general 
disorganization of Russia, and by the arrest of popu- 
lation in France. Though vastly the richer nation, 
the people of Great Britain, for the very reason of 
greater wealth long enjoyed, are not habituated to 
the economical endurance of the German; nor can 
the habits of individual liberty Ln England or 

308 Part III: Naval and National Policies 

America accept, unless under duress, the heavy yoke 
of organization, of regulation of individual action, 
which constitutes the power of Germany among 
modern states. 

The rivalry between Germany and Great Brit- 
ain to-day is the danger point, not only of European 
politics, but of world politics as well. 

Great Britain and the Continental Powers 

VERY war has two aspects, the defensive and the 
offensive, to each of which there is a correspond- 
ing factor of activity. There is something to gain, 
the offensive; there is something to lose, the defen- 
sive. The ears of men, especially of the uninstructed, 
are more readily and sympathetically open to the de- 
mands of the latter. It appeals to the conservatism 
which is dominant in the well-to-do, and to the 
widespread timidity which hesitates to take any risk 
for the sake of a probable though uncertain gain. 
The sentiment is entirely respectable in itself, and 
more than respectable when its power is exercised 
against breach of the peace for other than the 
gravest motives for any mere lucre of gain. 
But its limitations must be understood. A sound 
defensive scheme, sustaining the bases of the na- 
tional force, is the foundation upon which war rests; 
but who lays a foundation without intending a super- 
structure? The offensive element in warfare is the 
superstructure, the end and aim for which the de- 
fensive exists, and apart from which it is to all 
purposes of war worse than useless. When war 
has been accepted as necessary, success means 

1 "Retrospect and Prospect," Considerations Governing the Dis- 
position of Navies (1902), pp. 151-170. 

310 Part III: Naval and National Policies 

nothing short of victory; and victory must be sought 
by offensive measures, and by them only can be 
ensured. " Being in, bear it, that the opposer may 
be ware of thee." No mere defensive attitude or 
action avails to such end. Whatever the particular 
mode of offensive action adopted, whether it be 
direct military attack, or the national exhaustion of 
the opponent by cutting off the sources of national 
well-being, whatsoever method may be chosen, 
offense, injury, weakening of the foe, to annihilation 
if need be, must be the guiding purpose of the bel- 
ligerent. Success will certainly attend him who 
drives his adversary into the position of the defen- 
sive and keeps him there. 

Offense therefore dominates, but it does not ex- 
clude. The necessity for defense remains obliga- 
tory, though subordinate. The two are comple- 
mentary. It is only in the reversal of roles, by which 
priority of importance is assigned to the defensive, 
that ultimate defeat is involved. Nor is this all. 
Though opposed in idea and separable in method 
of action, circumstances not infrequently have per- 
mitted the union of the two in a single general plan 
of campaign, which protects at the same time that it 
attacks. " Fitz James's blade was sword and 
shield." Of this the system of blockades by the 
British Navy during the Napoleonic wars was a 
marked example. Thrust up against the ports of 
France, and lining her coasts, they covered 
shielded the operations of their own commerce 
and cruisers in every sea; while at the same time, 
crossing swords, as it were, with the fleets within, 

Advantages of Insular Position 311 

ever on guard, ready to attack, should the enemy 
give an opening by quitting the shelter of his ports, 
they frustrated his efforts at a combination of his 
squadrons by which alone he could hope to reverse 
conditions. All this was defensive; but the same 
operation cut the sinews of the enemy's power by 
depriving him of sea-borne commerce, and pro- 
moted the reduction of his colonies. Both these 
were measures of offense; and both, it may be added, 
were directed upon the national communications, the 
sources of national well-being. The means was one, 
the effect twofold. . . . 

[It is shown that, in the case of insular states, 
offense and defense are often closely combined, 
home security depending on control of the sea 
assured by offensive action of the national fleet 

An insular state, which alone can be purely mari- 
time, therefore contemplates war from a position of 
antecedent probable superiority from the twofold 
concentration of its policy; defense and offense being 
closely identified, and energy, if exerted judiciously, 
being fixed upon the increase of naval force to the 
clear subordination of that more narrowly styled 
military. The conditions tend to minimize the 
division of effort between offensive and defensive, 
purpose, and, by greater comparative development 
of the fleet, to supply a larger margin of disposable 
numbers in order to constitute a mobile superiority 
at a particular point of the general field. Such a 
decisive local superiority at the critical point of 
action is the chief end of the military art, alike in 

312 Part HI: Naval and National Policies 

tactics and strategy. Hence it is clear that an in- 
sular state, if attentive to the conditions that should 
dictate its policy, is inevitably led to possess a su- 
periority in that particular kind of force, the 
mobility of which enables it most readily to project 
its power to the more distant quarters of the earth, 
and also to change its point of application at will 
with unequalled rapidity. 

The general considerations that have been ad- 
vanced concern all the great European nations, in 
so far as they look outside their own continent, and 
to maritime expansion, for the extension of national 
influence and power; but the effect upon the action 
of each differs necessarily according to their several 
conditions. The problem of sea-defense, for in- 
stance, relates primarily to the protection of the 
national commerce everywhere, and specifically as 
it draws near the home ports; serious attack upon 
the coast, or upon the ports themselves, being a 
secondary consideration, because little likely to be- 
fall a nation able to extend its power far enough to 
sea to protect its merchant ships. From this point 
of view the position of Germany is embarrassed at 
once by the fact that she has, as regards the world 
at large, but one coast-line. To and from this all 
her sea commerce must go; either passing the Eng- 
lish Channel, flanked for three hundred miles by 
France on the one side and England on the other, 
or else going north about by the Orkneys, a most 
inconvenient circuit, and obtaining but imperfect 
shelter from recourse to this deflected route. Hol- 
land, in her ancient wars with England, when the 

Advantages of Insular Position 313 

two were fairly matched in point of numbers, had 
dire experience of this false position, though her 
navy was little inferior in numbers to that of her 
opponent. This is another exemplification of the 
truth that distance is a factor equivalent to a cer- 
tain number of ships. Sea-defense for Germany, in 
case of war with France or England, means estab- 
lished naval predominance at least in the North 
Sea; nor can it be considered complete unless ex- 
tended through the Channel and as far as Great 
Britain will have to project hers into the Atlantic. 
This is Germany's initial disadvantage of position, 
to be overcome only by adequate superiority of num- 
bers; and it receives little compensation from the 
security of her Baltic trade, and the facility for 
closing that sea to her enemies. In fact, Great 
Britain, whose North Sea trade is but one-fourth 
of her total, lies to Germany as Ireland does to 
Great Britain, flanking both routes to the Atlantic; 
but the great development of the British sea-coast, 
its numerous ports and ample internal communica- 
tions, strengthen that element of sea defense which 
consists in abundant access to harbors of refuge. 

For the Baltic Powers, which comprise all the 
maritime States east of Germany, the commercial 
drawback of the Orkney route is a little less than 
for Hamburg and Bremen, in that the exit from the 
Baltic is nearly equidistant from the north and south 
extremities of England; nevertheless the excess in 
distance over the Channel route remains very con- 
siderable. The initial naval disadvantage is in no 
wise diminished. For all the communities east of 

314 Part III: Naval and National Policies 

the Straits of Dover it remains true that in war 
commerce is paralyzed, and all the resultant con- 
sequences of impaired national strength entailed, un- 
less decisive control of the North Sea is established. 
That effected, there is security for commerce by the 
northern passage; but this alone is mere defense. 
Offense, exerted anywhere on the globe, requires a 
surplusage of force, over that required to hold the 
North Sea, sufficient to extend and maintain itself 
west of the British Islands. In case of war with 
either of the Channel Powers, this means, as be- 
tween the two opponents, that the eastern bellig- 
erent has to guard a long line of communications, 
and maintain distant positions, against an antag- 
onist resting on a central position, with interior lines, 
able to strike at choice at either wing of the enemy's 
extended front. The relation which the English 
Channel, with its branch the Irish Sea, bears to the 
North Sea and the Atlantic that of an interior 
position is the same which the Mediterranean 
bears to the Atlantic and the Indian Sea; nor is it 
merely fanciful to trace in the passage round the 
north of Scotland an analogy to that by the Cape 
of Good Hope. It is a reproduction in miniature. 
The conditions are similar, the scale different. 
What the one is to a war whose scene is the north 
of Europe, the other is to operations by European 
Powers in Eastern Asia. 

To protract such a situation is intolerable to the 
purse and morale of the belligerent who has the 
disadvantage of position. This of course leads us 
straight back to the fundamental principles of all 

Advantages of Insular Position 315 

naval war, namely, that defense is ensured only by 
offense, and that the one decisive objective of the 
offensive is the enemy's organized force, his battle 
fleet. Therefore, in the event of a war between one 
of the Channel Powers, and one or more of those 
to the eastward, the control of the North Sea must 
be at once decided. For the eastern State it is a 
matter of obvious immediate necessity, of com- 
mercial self-preservation. For the western State 
the offensive motive is equally imperative; but for 
Great Britain there is defensive need as well. Her 
Empire imposes such a development of naval force 
as makes it economically impracticable to maintain 
an army as large as those of the Continent. Secur- 
ity against invasion depends therefore upon the fleet. 
Postponing more distant interests, she must here 
concentrate an indisputable superiority. It is, how- 
ever, inconceivable that against any one Power 
Great Britain should not be able here to exert from 
the first a preponderance which would effectually 
cover all her remoter possessions. Only an eco- 
nomical decadence, which would of itself destroy 
her position among nations, could bring her so to 
forego the initial advantage she has, in the fact 
that for her offense and defense meet and are ful- 
filled in one factor, the command of the sea. His- 
tory has conclusively demonstrated the inability of a 
state with even a single continental frontier to com- 
pete in naval development with one that is insular, 
although of smaller population and resources. A 
coalition of Powers may indeed affect the balance. 
As a rule, however, a single state against a coalition 

316 Part III: Naval and National Policies 

holds the interior position, the concentrated force; 
and while calculation should rightly take account of 
possibilities, it should beware of permitting imagina- 
tion too free sway in presenting its pictures. Were 
the eastern Powers to combine they might prevent 
Great Britain's use of the North Sea for the safe 
passage of her merchant shipping; but even so she 
would but lose commercially the whole of a trade, 
the greater part of which disappears by the mere 
fact of war. Invasion is not possible, unless her fleet 
can be wholly disabled from appearing in that sea. 
From her geographical position, she still holds her 
gates open to the outer world, which maintains 
three fourths of her commerce in peace. 


external activities of Europe, noted a dozen 
years ago and before, have now to a certain ex- 
tent been again superseded by rivalries within Europe 
itself. Those rivalries, however, are the result of 
their previous external activities, and in the last 
analysis they depend upon German commercial 
development. This has stimulated the German Em- 
pire to a prodigious naval programme, which affects 
the whole of Europe and may affect the United 
States. In 1897 I summed up two conspicuous 
European conditions as being the equilibrium then 
existing between France and Germany, with their 
respective allies, and the withdrawal of Great Brit- 
ain from active association with the affairs of the 
Continent. At that date the Triple Alliance, Aus- 
tria, Germany, Italy, stood against the Dual Alli- 
ance, France and Russia; Great Britain apart from 
both, but with elements of antagonism against Rus- 
sia and France, and not against the German mon- 
archies or Italy. These antagonisms arose wholly 
from conditions external to Europe, in India 
against Russia, and in Africa against France. Later, 
the paralysis of Russia, through her defeat by Japan, 
and through her internal troubles, left France alone 

1 "Naval Strategy" (1911), pp. 104-112. 

318 Part III: Naval and National Policies 

for a time; during which Germany, thus assured 
against land attack, was better able to devote much 
money to the fleet, as the protector of her growing 
commerce. The results have been a projected huge 
German navy, and a German altercation with 
France relative to Moroccan affairs; incidents which 
have aroused Great Britain to a sense of naval 
danger, and have propelled her to the understand- 
ings whatever they amount to with France and 
Russia, which we now know as the Triple Entente. 
In short, Great Britain has abandoned the isolation 
of twenty years ago, stands joined to the Dual 
Alliance, and it becomes a Triple Entente. 

To the United States this means that Great Brit- 
ain, once our chief opponent in matters covered by 
the Monroe Doctrine, but later by the logic of 
events drawn to recede from that opposition, so 
that she practically backed us against Europe in 
1898, and subsequently conceded the Panama ar- 
rangement known as the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty, 
cannot at present count for as much as she did in 
naval questions throughout the world. It means to 
the United States and to Japan that Great Britain 
has too much at stake at home to side with the one 
or the other, granting she so wished, except as 
bound by treaty, which implies reciprocal obliga- 
tions. Between her and Japan such specific obliga- 
tions exist. They do not in the case of the United 
States; and the question whether the two countries 
are disposed to support one another, and, if so, to 
what extent, or what the attitude of Great Britain 
would be in case of difficulty between Japan and the 

Naval Policy and Strategy 319 

United States, are questions directly affecting naval 
strategy. 1 

Great Britain does indeed for the moment hold 
Germany so far in check that the German Empire 
also can do no more than look after its European 
interests; but should a naval disaster befall Great 
Britain, leaving Germany master of the naval 
situation, the world would see again a predominant 
fleet backed by a predominant army, and that in the 
hands, not of a state satiated with colonial posses- 
sions, as Great Britain is, but of one whose late 
entry into world conditions leaves her without any 
such possessions at all of any great value. The 
habit of mind is narrow which fails to see that a 
navy such as Germany is now building will be 
efficacious for other ends than those immediately 
proposed. The existence of such a fleet is a con- 
stant factor in contemporary politics ; the part which 
it shall play depending upon circumstances not al- 
ways to be foreseen. Although the colonial am- 
bitions of Germany are held in abeyance for the 
moment, the wish cannot but exist to expand her 
territory by foreign acquisitions, to establish exter- 
nal bases for the support of commercial or political 
interests, to build up such kindred communities as 
now help to constitute the British Empire, homes for 
emigrants, markets for industries, sources of sup- 
plies of raw materials, needed by those industries. 

' * Since this was written, a new Treaty of Alliance between Greaj 
Britain and Japan, operative for ten years, has been signed July 13, 
1911. By its terms either Power will be released from its military 
obligation to the other, as against a third with which it may have a treaty 
of general arbitration, such as that framed between Great Britain and 
the United States. 

320 Part III: Naval and National Policies 

All such conditions and ambitions are incidents 
with which Strategy, comprehensively considered, 
has to deal. By the successive enunciations of the 
Monroe Doctrine the United States stands com- 
mitted to the position that no particle of American 
soil shall pass into the hands of a non-American 
State other than the present possessor. No success- 
ful war between foreign states, no purchase, no ex- 
change, no merger, such as the not impossible one 
of Holland with Germany, is allowed as valid cause 
for such transfer. This is a very large contract; 
the only guarantee of which is an adequate navy, 
however the term " adequate " be defined. Ade- 
quacy often depends not only upon existing balances 
of power, such, for instance, as that by which the 
British and German navies now affect one another, 
which for the moment secures the observance of the 
Doctrine. Account must be taken also of evident 
policies which threaten to disturb such balances, such 
as the official announcement by Germany of her 
purpose to create a " fleet of such strength that, even 
for the mightiest naval power, a war with Germany 
would involve such risks as to jeopardize its own 
supremacy." This means, at least, that Great Brit- 
ain hereafter shall not venture, as in 1898, to back 
the United States against European interference; 
nor to support France in Morocco; nor to carry out 
as against Germany her alliance with Japan. It is a 
matter of very distinct consequence in naval strategy 
that Great Britain, after years of contention with 
the United States, essentially opposed to the claims 
of the Monroe Doctrine, should at last have come 

Naval Policy and Strategy 321 

to substantial coincidence with the American point 
of view, even though she is not committed to a 
formal announcement to that effect. 1 Such relations 
between states are primarily the concern of the 
statesman, a matter of international policies; but 
they are also among the data which the strategist, 
naval as well as land, has to consider, because they 
are among the elements which determine the con- 
stitution and size of the national fleet. 

I here quote with approval a statement of the 
French Captain Darrieus: 

" Among the complex problems to which the idea 
of strategy gives rise there is none more important 
than that of the constitution of the fleet; and every 
project which takes no account of the foreign re- 
lations of a great nation, nor of the material limit 
fixed by its resources, rests upon a weak and un- 
stable base." 

I repeat also the quotation from Von der Goltz: 
" We must have a national strategy, a national tac- 
tics." I cannot too entirely repudiate any casual 
word of mine, reflecting the tone which once was 
so traditional in the navy that it might be called 
professional, that " political questions belong 
rather to the statesman than to the military man." 
I find these words in my old lectures, but I very soon 
learned better, from my best military friend, Jomini ; 
and I believe that no printed book of mine endorses 
the opinion that external politics are of no profes- 
sional concern to military men. 

1 Since these words were written such formal announcement has been 
made by a member of the British Cabinet, Sir Edward Grey, the Sec- 
retary for Foreign Affairs, on May 23, 1911. The Mail, May 24, 1911. 

Part III: Naval and National Poln 

It was in accordance with this changed opinion 
that in 1895, and again in 1897, I summed up 
European conditions as I conceived them to be; 
pointing out that the distinguishing feature at that 
time was substantial equilibrium on the Continent, 
constituting what is called the Balance of Power; 
and, in connection with the calm thus resulting, an 
immense colonizing movement, in which substan- 
tially all the great Powers were concerned. This 
I indicated as worthy of the notice of naval strate- 
gists, because there were parts of the American 
continents which for various reasons might attract 
upon themselves this movement, in disregard of 
the Monroe Doctrine. 

Since then the scene has shifted greatly, the dis- 
tinctive feature of the change being the growth of 
Germany in industrial, commercial, and naval power, 
all three; while at the same time maintaining her 
military pre-eminence, although that has been some- 
what qualified by the improvement of the French 
army, just as the growth of the German navy has 
qualified British superiority at sea. Coincident with 
this German development has been the decline of 
Russia, owing to causes generally understood ; the sta- 
tionariness of France in population, while Germany 
has increased fifty per cent; and the very close draw- 
ing together of Germany and Austria, for reasons of 
much more controlling power than the mere treaty 
which binds them. The result is that to-day central 
Europe, that is, Austria and Germany, form a sub- 
stantially united body, extending from water to 
water, from North Sea to Adriatic, wielding a mili- 

Naval Policy and Strategy 

tary power against which, on the land, no combina- 
tion in Europe can stand. The Balance of Power 
no longer exists; that is, if my estimate is correct of 
the conditions and dispersion which characterize the 
other nations relatively to this central mass. 

This situation, coinciding with British trade jeal- 
ousies of the new German industries, and with the 
German naval programme, have forced Great Brit- 
ain out of the isolation which the Balance of Power 
permitted her. Her ententes are an attempt to 
correct the disturbance of the balance; but, while 
they tend in that direction, they are not adequate 
to the full result desired. The balance remains 
uneven; and consequently European attention is 
concentrated upon European conditions, instead of 
upon the colonizing movements of twenty years ago. 
Germany even has formally disavowed such colo- 
nizing ambitions, by the mouth of her ambassador 
to the United States, confirmed by her minister of 
foreign affairs, although a dozen years ago they 
were conspicuous. Concerning these colonizing 
movements, indeed, it might be said that they have 
reached a moment of quiet, of equilibrium, while 
internally Europe is essentially disquieted, as various 
incidents have shown. 

The important point to us here is the growing 
power of the German Empire, in which the efficiency 
of the State as an organic body is so greatly su- 
perior to that of Great Britain, and may prove to 
be to that of the United States. The two English- 
speaking countries have wealth vastly superior, each 
separately, to that of Germany; much more if acting 

324 Part III: Naval and National Pain 

together. But in neither is the efficiency of the 
Government for handling the resources comparable 
to that of Germany; and there is no apparent chance 
or recognized inducement for them to work together, 
as Germany and Austria now work in Europe. The 
consequence is that Germany may deal with each 
in succession much more effectively than either is 
now willing to consider; Europe being powerless to 
affect the issue so long as Austria stands by Ger- 
many, as she thoroughly understands that she has 
every motive to do. 

It is this line of reasoning which shows the power 
of the German navy to be a matter of prime im- 
portance to the United States. The power to con- 
trol Germany does not exist in Europe, except in 
the British navy; and if social and political con- 
ditions in Great Britain develop as they now prom- 
ise, the British navy will probably decline in relative 
strength, so that it will not venture to withstand the 
German on any broad lines of policy, but only in 
the narrowest sense of immediate British interests. 
Even this condition may disappear, for it seems as 
if the national life of Great Britain were waning at 
the same time that that of Germany is waxing. The 
truth is, Germany, by traditions of two centuries, 
inherits now a system of state control, not only 
highly developed but with a people accustomed to 
it, a great element of force; and this at the time 
when control of the individual by the community - 
that is, by the state is increasingly the note of the 
times. Germany has in this matter a large start. 
Japan has much the same. 

Naval Policy and Strategy 325 

When it is remembered that the United States, 
like Great Britain and like Japan, can be approached 
only by sea, we can scarcely fail to see that upon the 
sea primarily must be found our power to secure our 
own borders and to sustain our external policy, of 
which at the present moment there are two principal 
elements; namely, the Monroe Doctrine and the 
Open Door. Of the Monroe Doctrine President 
Taft, in his first message to Congress, has said 
that it has advanced sensibly towards general ac- 
ceptance ; and that maintenance of its positions in the 
future need cause less anxiety than it has in the past. 
Admitting this, and disregarding the fact that the 
respect conceded to it by Europe depends in part at 
least upon European rivalries modifying European 
ability to intervene, a condition which may change 
as suddenly as has the power of Russia within the 
decade, it remains obvious that the policy of the 
Open Door requires naval power quite as really and 
little less directly than the Monroe Doctrine. For 
the scene of the Open Door contention is the Pacific; 
the gateway to the Pacific for the United States is 
the Isthmus ; the communications to the Isthmus are 
by way of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean 
Sea. The interest of that maritime region there- 
fore is even greater now than it was when I first 
undertook the strategic study of it, over twenty 
years ago. Its importance to the Monroe Doctrine 
and to general commercial interests remains, even 
if modified. 

At the date of my first attempt to make this study 
of the Caribbean, and to formulate certain prin- 

326 Part III: Naval and National Policies 

ciples relative to Naval Strategy, there scarcely 
could be said to exist any defined public conscious- 
ness of European and American interest in sea 
power, and in the methods of its application which 
form the study of Strategy. The most striking 
illustration of this insensibility to the sea was to be 
found in Bismarck, who in a constructive sense was 
the greatest European statesman of that day. After 
the war with France and the acquisition of Alsace 
and Lorraine, he spoke of Germany as a state 
satiated with territorial expansion. In the matter 
of external policy she had reached the limits of his 
ambitions for her; and his mind thenceforth was 
set on internal development, which should harmonize 
the body politic and ensure Germany the unity and 
power which he had won for her. His scheme of 
external relations did not stretch beyond Europe. 
He was then too old to change to different concep- 
tions, although he did not neglect to follow the 
demand of the people as their industry and com- 
merce developed. 

The contrast between the condition of indifference 
to the sea which he illustrated and that which now 
exists is striking; and the German Empire, which 
owes to him above all men its modern greatness, 
offers the most conspicuous illustration of the 
change. The new great navies of the world since 
1887 are the German, the Japanese, and the Ameri- 
can. Every state in Europe is now awake to the 
fact that the immediate coming interests of the 
world, which are therefore its own national interest, 
must be in the other continents. Europe in its rela- 

Naval Policy and Strategy 327 

tively settled conditions offers really the base of 
operations for enterprises and decisive events, the 
scene of which will be in countries where political 
or economical backwardness must give place to 
advances which will be almost revolutionary in kind. 
This can scarcely be accomplished without unsettle- 
ments, the composing of which will depend upon 
force. Such force by a European state with the 
single exception of Russia, and possibly, in a less 
degree, of Austria can be exerted only through 
a navy. 


HE essence of the question involved in the sci/- 
ure of " private property " at sea is transporta- 
tion; and with three such conspicuous instances 2 
within a century its effectiveness is historically demon- 
strated. The belligerent state, in the exercise of a 
right as yet conceded by international law, says in 
substance to its adversary, " I forbid your citizens 
the maritime transportation of their commercial 
property. Articles of whatever character, including 
the vessels which carry them, violating this lawful 
order will be seized and condemned." Seizure is 
made contingent upon movement; otherwise the 
property is merely bidden to stay at home, where it 
will be safe. All this is in strict conformity with the 
execution of law under common conditions; and the 
practice is now regulated with a precision and system 
consonant to other legal adjudication, the growth 
of centuries of jurisprudence directed to this par- 
ticular subject. Its general tendency I have in- 
dicated by certain specific instances. It is efficient 
to the ends of war, more or less, according to cir- 
cumstances; and by distributing the burden over the 
whole community affected it tends to peace, as ex- 

1 "Some Neglected Aspects of War" (1907), pp. 171-191. 

* The Napoleonic Wars, the War of 1812, and the American Civil 
War. For the effect of commerce warfare in these struggles, see pp. 91-99. 

Seizure of Private Property at Sea .;_".) 

emption from capture could not do. If the suffer- 
ing of war could be made to fall only on the com- 
batants actually in the field, the rest of the nation 
being protected from harm and loss by the assured 
ability to pursue their usual avocations undisturbed, 
the selfishness of men would more readily resort to 
violence to carry their ends. 

In support of the widespread effects of interrup- 
tion to transportation, I gladly quote one of the 
recent contendents for immunity of " private prop- 
erty " from maritime capture. Having on one page 
maintained the ineffectiveness of the seizure, because 
individual losses never force a nation to make peace, 
he concludes his article by saying: 

' The question interests directly and vitally thou- 
sands of people in every country. It is of vital im- 
portance to those who go down to the sea in ships, 
and those who occupy their business in great waters. 
It appeals not only to every shipowner, but also to 
every merchant whose goods are shipped upon the 
sea, to every farmer whose grain is sent abroad, to 
every manufacturer who sells to a foreign market, 
and to every banker who is dependent upon the 
prosperity of his countrymen." 

I can do little to enhance this vivid presentation 
by an opponent; yet if we add to his list the butchers, 
the bakers, the tailors, shoemakers, grocers, whose 
customers economize; the men who drive drays to 
and from shipping, and find their occupation gone; 
the railroads, as the great common carriers, whose 
freights fall off; the stockholders whose dividends 
shrink; we shall by no means have exhausted the far- 

330 Pan III: Naval and National Policies 

reaching influence of this intermeddling with trans- 
portation. It is a belligerent measure which touches 
every member of the hostile community, and, by 
thus distributing the evils of war, as insurance dis- 
tributes the burden of other losses, it brings them 
home to every man, fostering in each a disposition 
to peace. 

It doubtless will not have escaped readers familiar 
with the subject of maritime prize that so far I have 
not distinguished between the interruption of trans- 
portation by blockade and that by seizure on the 
high seas. The first, it may be said, is not yet in 
question; the second only is challenged. My reason 
has been that the underlying military principle - 
and, as I claim, justification is the same in both; 
and, as we are dealing with a question of war, the 
military principle is of equal consideration with any 
other, if not superior. The effect produced is in 
character the same in both. In efficacy, they differ, 
and their comparative values in this respect are a 
legitimate subject for discussion. In principle and 
method, however, they are identical; both aim at 
the stoppage of transportation, as a means of de- 
stroying the resources of the enemy, and both are 
enforced by the seizure and condemnation of 
" private property " transgressing the orders. 

This community of operation is so evident that, 
historically, the advocates of exemption of private 
property from confiscation in the one case have de- 
manded, or at the least suggested, that blockade as a 
military measure cannot be instituted against com- 
merce that it can be resorted to only as against 

Seizure of Private Property at Sea 331 

contraband, or where a port is " invested " by land 
as well as by sea. This was Napoleon's contention 
in the Berlin Decree; and it is worthy of grave 
attention that, under the pressure of momentary 
expediency, the United States more than once, be- 
tween 1800 and 1812, advanced the same view. 
This I have shown in my history of the War of 
1812. * Had this opinion then prevailed, the grind- 
ing blockade of the War of Secession could not have 
been applied. If we may imagine the United States 
and the Confederate States parties to a Hague Con- 
ference, we can conceive the impassioned advocacy 
of restricted blockade by the one, and the stubborn 
refusal of the other. This carries a grave warning 
to test seeming expediency in retaining or yielding 
a prescriptive right. There is no moral issue, if my 
previous argument is correct; unless it be moral, 
and I think it is, to resort to pecuniary pressure 
rather than to bloodshed to enforce a belligerent 
contention. As regards expediency, however, each 
nation should carefully weigh the effects upon itself, 
upon its rivals, and upon the general future of the 
community of states, before abandoning a principle 
of far-reaching consequence, and in operation often 
beneficent in restraining or shortening war. 

It has been urged that conditions have so changed, 
through the numerous alternatives to sea transport 
now available, that the former efficacy can no longer 
be predicted. There might be occasional local suffer- 
ing, but for communities at large the streams of 
supply are so many that the particular result of 
1 Vol. I, pp. 146-148. 

332 Pan III: Naval and National Policies 

general popular distress will not be attained to any 
decisive degree. Has this argument really been 
well weighed? None, of course, will dispute that 
certain conditions have been much modified, and for 
the better. Steam not only has increased rapidity 
of land transit for persons and goods; it has induced 
the multiplication of roads, and enforced the main- 
tenance of them in good condition. Thanks to such 
maintenance, we are vastly less at the mercy of the 
seasons than we once were, and communities now 
have several lines of communication open where 
formerly they were dependent upon one. Neverthe- 
less, for obvious reasons of cheapness and of facility, 
water transport sustains its ascendancy. It may 
carry somewhat less proportionately than in old 
times; but, unless we succeed in exploiting the air, 
water remains, and always must remain, the great 
medium of transportation. The open sea is a road 
which needs neither building nor repairs. Com- 
pared with its boundless expanse, two lines of 
rails afford small accommodation a circumstance 
which narrowly limits their capacity for freight. 

[It is shown that water transportation still plays 
an immense part in commerce, even in the case of 
inland watercourses in competition with railroads, 
and that any interruption of commerce throws a 
heavy burden on the nation involved. EDITOR.] 

Such derangement of an established system of sea 
transportation is more searching, as well as more 
easy, when the shipping involved has to pass close 
by an enemy's shores; and still more if the ports of 
possible arrival are few. This is conspicuously the 

Seizure of Private Property at Sea 

case of Germany and the Baltic States relatively to 
Great Britain, and would be of Great Britain were 
Ireland independent and hostile. The striking 
development of German mercantile tonnage is sig- 
nificant of the growing grandeur, influence, and 
ambitions of the empire. Its exposure, in case of 
war with Great Britain, and only in less degree with 
France, would account, were other reasons wanting, 
for the importunate demand for naval expansion. 
Other reasons are not wanting; but in the develop- 
ment of her merchant shipping Germany, to use a 
threadbare phrase, has given a hostage to Fortune. 
Except by the measure advocated, and here opposed, 
of exempting from capture merchant vessels of a 
belligerent, with their cargoes, as being " private 
property," Germany is bound over to keep the peace, 
unless occasion of national safety vital interests 
or honor drive her, or unless she equip a navy 
adequate to so great a task as protecting fully the 
carrying trade she has laboriously created. The 
exposure of this trade is not merely a matter of 
German interest, nor yet of British. It is of inter- 
national concern, a circumstance making for peace. 
The retort is foreseen: How stands a nation to 
which the native mercantile shipping, carrying trade, 
is a distinctly minor interest, and therefore does not 
largely affect the question of transportation? This 
being maintained by neutrals, the accretion of na- 
tional wealth by circulation may go on little im- 
paired by hostilities. The first most obvious reply 
is that such is a distinctly specialized case in a gen- 
eral problem, and that its occurrence and continu- 

334 Part III: Naval and National Policies 

ance are dependent upon circumstances which 
frequently vary. It lacks the elements of perma- 
nence, and its present must therefore be regarded 
with an eye to the past and future. A half-century 
ago the mercantile marine of the United States was, 
and for nearly a century before had been, a close 
second to that of Great Britain; to-day it is prac- 
tically non-existent, except for coasting-trade. On 
the other hand, during the earlier period the thriving 
Hanse towns were nearly the sole representatives of 
German shipping, which now, issuing from the same 
harbors, on a strip of coast still narrow, is pressing 
rapidly forward under the flag of the empire to 
take the place vacated by the Americans. 

With such a reversal of conditions in two prom- 
inent examples, the problem of to-day in any one 
case is not that of yesterday, and may very well not 
be that of to-morrow. From decade to decade ex- 
perience shifts like a weather-cock; the statesman 
mounted upon it becomes a Mr. Facing-Bothways. 
The denial of commercial blockade, the American 
national expediency of 1800, suggested by such 
eminent jurists as John Marshall and James Madi- 
son, would have been ruinous manacles to the nation 
of 1861-65. A government weighing its policy 
with reference to the future, having regard to pos- 
sible as well as actual conditions, would do well 
before surrendering existing powers the bird in 
the hand to consider rather the geographical 
position of the country, its relation to maritime 
routes the strategy, so to say, of the general 
permanent situation and the military principles 

Seizure of Private Property at Sea 335 

upon which maritime capture rests. In that light a 
more accurate estimate will be made of temporary 
tactical circumstances, to-day's conditions such, for 
instance, as set forth by the present Lord Chancellor 
of Great Britain. 1 In his letter, favoring immunity 
from capture for " private property," dispropor- 
tionate stress is laid upon the dangers of Great Brit- 
ain, the points which make against her; a serious 
tactical error. The argument from exposure is so 
highly developed, that the possible enemies whose 
co-operation is needed to secure the desired immu- 
nity for " private " property might well regard the 
request to assist as spreading the net in the sight of 
the bird; a vanity which needs not a wise man to 
detect. On the other hand, the offensive advantage 
of capture to Great Britain, owing to her situation, 
is, in my judgment, inadequately appreciated. 

The writer has fallen into the mistake which our 
General Sherman characterized as undue imagina- 
tion concerning what " the man on the other side of 
the hill" might do; a quaint version of the first 
Napoleon's warning against " making a picture to 
yourself." The picture of Great Britain's dangers 
is overdrawn; that to her enemies " the full 
measure of the mischief we could do to a Conti- 
nental nation " is underdrawn. It would seem 
as if, in his apprehension, " the disastrous conse- 
quences 2 which would flow from even slight dep- 
redations by commerce destroyers on British ship- 
ping " could find no parallel in the results to a 

1 The "Times" of October 14, 1905. 
1 Indirect, I presume. 

336 Part III: Naval and National Policies 

Continental trade from British cruisers. France or 
Germany, for example, shut off from the sea, can be 
supplied by rail from, say, Antwerp or Rotterdam; 
but it is apparently inconceivable that, in the con- 
tingency of a protracted naval war, the same ports 
might equally supply Great Britain by neutral ships. 
Alternate sea routes close, apparently automatically; 
only alternate land routes stay open. Thus undue 
weight is laid upon defensive motives, where the 
offensive requires the greater emphasis. The larger 
merchant tonnage of Great Britain involves a 
greater defensive element, yes; but are not defensive 
conditions favorably modified by her greater navy, 
and by her situation, with all her western ports open 
to the Atlantic, from Glasgow to Bristol and round 
to Southampton? And is not the station for such 
defense identical with the best for offense by mari- 
time capture? The British vessels there occupy also 
a superior position for coal renewal; the difficulty 
of which for an enemy, threatening the Atlantic 
approaches to Great Britain, seems too largely dis- 
counted by imaginations preoccupied with hostile 
commerce destroyers. 

The concluding sentence of Lord Loreburn's 
letter contains a warning familiar to military 
thought. u Great Britain will gain much from a 
change long and eagerly desired by the great ma- 
jority of other Powers." The wish of a possible 
enemy is the beacon which suggests the shoal. The 
truth is, if the British Navy maintains superiority, 
it is to the interest of her enemies to have immunity 
from capture for "private property;" if it falls, 

Seizure of Private Property at Sea 337 

it is to their interest to be able to capture. The 
inference is safe that probable enemies, if such there 
be, and if they entertain the wish asserted, do not 
expect shortly to destroy the British Navy. 

While unconvinced by the reasoning, it is re- 
freshing to recognize in this letter a clear practical 
enunciation which sweeps away much sentimental 
rhetoric. " I urge [immunity for private property] 
not upon any ground of sentiment or humanity 
(indeed, no operation of war inflicts less suffering 
than the capturing of unarmed vessels at sea), but 
upon the ground that on the balance of argument, 
coolly weighed, the interests of Great Britain will 
gain much from the change." I more than doubt 
the conclusion; but its sobriety contrasts pleasantly 
with the exuberances, " noble and enlightened action," 
" crown of glory," and the like, with which it pleases 
certain of our American advocates to enwreathe this 
prosaic utilitarian proposition. 

A possibility which affects the general question 
much more seriously than others so far considered, 
is that of neutral carriers taking the place of a 
national shipping exposed to capture under present 
law. This is one phase of a change which has come 
over the general conditions of carrying trade since 
the United States became a nation, and since Great 
Britain, three quarters of a century afterwards, 
formally repealed her Navigation Acts. The dis- 
cussion preceding this repeal, together with the 
coincident Free Trade movement, preceded by but 
a few years the Treaty of Paris in 1856, and gave 
an impulse which doubtless facilitated the renounce- 

338 Pan III: Naval and National Policies 

ment in that treaty by Great Britain of the right 
to capture enemy's property under a neutral flag. 
The concession was in the air, as we say; which 
proves only that it was contagious, not that it was 
wise. Like many hasty steps, however, once taken 
it probably is irreversible. 

The effect of this concession has been to legalize, 
among the several great states signatory to the 
treaty, the carriage of belligerent property by neu- 
tral ships, in which previously it had been liable to 
seizure. In its later operation, the condemnation 
of the enemy's property had not involved the neutral 
carrier further than by the delays necessary to take 
her into port, adjudicate the question of ownership, 
and remove the property, if found to be belligerent. 
Such detention, however, was a strong deterrent, 
and acted as an impediment to the circulation of 
belligerent wealth by neutral means. It tended to 
embarrass and impoverish the belligerent; hence the 
removal of it is a modification of much importance. 
Neutral shipping thus is now free to take a part in 
hostilities, which formerly it could only do at the 
risk of loss, more or less serious. To carry bellig- 
erent property, which under its own flag would be 
open to seizure, is to aid the belligerent; is to take 
part in the war. 

In considering such an amelioration, if it be so 
regarded, it is possible to exaggerate its degree. If 
a nation cherishes its carrying-trade, does a large 
part of its transportation in its own vessels, and is 
unable in war to protect them, the benefit of the 
innovation will be but partial. Its own shipping, 

Seizure of Private Property at Sea 339 

driven from the sea, is an important element in the 
total navigation of the world, and the means to 
replace it will not be at once at hand. Neutrals 
have their own commerce to maintain, as well as 
that of the weaker belligerent. They would not 
undertake the whole of the latter, if they could; 
and, if they would, they will not at once have the 
means. Steamships driven off the sea, and for the 
moment lost to navigation, cannot be replaced as 
rapidly as the old sailing-vessels. Moreover, neu- 
tral merchants have to weigh the chances of hos- 
tilities being short, and that the banished shipping 
of the belligerent may return in its might to the 
seas with the dawn of peace, making their own a 
drug on the market. In short, while the belligerent 
profits from a change which gives him free use of 
neutral ships, whereas he formerly had only a 
limited use, a considerable embarrassment remains. 
The effect is identical in principle and operation with 
that before indicated, as resulting from blockading 
a few chief harbors. A certain large fraction of 
transportation is paralyzed, and the work done by 
it is thrown upon ports and roads which have not 
the necessary facilities. It is as though a main 
trunk line of railroad were seized and held. The 
general system is deranged, prices rise, embarrass- 
ment results, and is propagated throughout the busi- 
ness community. This affects the nation by the 
suffering of thousands of individuals, and by the 
consequent reduction of revenue. 

It would seem, therefore, that even under modern 
conditions maritime capture of " private " prop- 

340 Part III: Naval and National Policies 

erty is a means of importance to the ends of war; 
that it acts directly upon the individual citizens and 
upon the financial power of the belligerent, the effect 
being intensified by indirect influence upon the fears 
of the sensitive business world. These political and 
financial consequences bring the practice into exact 
line with military principle; for, being directed 
against the resources of the enemy, by interrupting 
his communications with the outer world, it becomes 
strictly analogous to operations against the com- 
munications of an army with its base one of the 
chief objects of strategy. Upon the maintenance of 
communications the life of an army depends, upon 
the maintenance of commerce the vitality of a state. 
Money, credit, is the life of war. Lessen it, and 
vigor flags; destroy it, and resistance dies. Accept- 
ing these conclusions, each state has to weigh the 
probable bearing upon its own fortunes of the con- 
tinuance or discontinuance of the practice. From 
the military point of view the question is not merely, 
nor chiefly, " What shall our people escape by the 
abandonment of this time-sanctioned method? " but, 
u What power to overcome the enemy shall we 
thereby surrender?" It is a question of balance, 
beween offense and defense. As Jefferson said, 
when threatened with a failure of negotiations, 
14 We shall have to begin the irrational process of 
trying which can do the other most harm." As a 
summary of war, the sentence is a caricature; but it 
incidentally embodies Farragut's aphorism, " The 
best defense is a rapid fire from our own guns." 
For the success of war, offense is better than de- 

Seizure of Private Property at Sea 341 

fense; and in contemplating this or any other mili- 
tary measure, let there be dismissed at once, as 
preposterous, the hope that war can be carried on 
without some one or something being hurt; that the 
accounts should show credit only and no debit. 

For the community of states a broader view 
should be taken, from the standpoint that whatever 
tends to make war more effective tends to shorten it 
.and to prevent it. 


nPHE poet's words, "The Parliament of man, the 
* federation of the world," were much in men's 
mouths this past summer. There is no denying the 
beauty of the ideal, but there was apparent also a 
disposition, in contemplating it, to contemn the slow 
processes of evolution by which Nature commonly 
attains her ends, and to impose at once, by conven- 
tion, the methods that commended themselves to 
the sanguine. Fruit is not best ripened by pre- 
mature plucking, nor can the goal be reached by 
such short cuts. Step by step, in the past, man has 
ascended by means of the sword, and his more 
recent gains, as well as present conditions, show 
that the time has not yet come to kick down the 
ladder which has so far served him. Three hun- 
dred years ago, the people of the land in which the 
Conference was assembled wrenched with the sword 
civil and religious peace, and national independence, 
from the tyranny of Spain. Then began the disin- 
tegration of her empire, and the deliverance of 
peoples from her oppression; but this was com- 
pleted only last year, and then again by the sword 
of the United States. 

In the centuries which have since intervened, 

1 "Some Neglected Aspects of War," The Peace Conference and 
the Moral Aspect of War (1899), pp. 45-52. 

The Moral Aspect of War 343 

what has not " justice, with valor armed," when 
confronted by evil in high places, found itself com- 
pelled to effect by resort to the sword? To it was 
due the birth of the United States, not least among 
the benefits of which was the stern experience that 
has made Great Britain no longer the mistress, but 
the mother, of her dependencies. The control, to 
good from evil, of the devastating fire of the French 
Revolution, and of Napoleon, was due to the sword. 
The long line of illustrious names and deeds, of 
those who bore it not in vain, has in our times cul- 
minated if indeed the end is even yet nearly 
reached in the new birth of the United States by 
the extirpation of human slavery, and in the down- 
fall, but yesterday, of a colonial empire identified 
with tyranny. What the sword, and it supremely, 
tempered only by the stern demands of justice and 
of conscience, and the loving voice of charity, has 
done for India and for Egypt, is a tale at once too 
long and too well known for repetition here. Peace, 
indeed, is not adequate to all progress; there are 
resistances that can be overcome only by explosion. 
What means less violent than war would in a half- 
year have solved the Caribbean problem, shattered 
national ideas deep rooted in the prepossessions of 
a century, and planted the United States in Asia, 
face to face with the great world problem of the 
immediate future? What but the War of 1898 rent 
the veil which prevented the English-speaking com- 
munities from seeing eye to eye, and revealed to 
each the face of a brother? Little wonder that a 
war which, with comparatively little bloodshed, 

344 Part III: Naval and National Policies 

brought such consequences, was followed by the call 
for a Peace Conference I 

Power, force, is a faculty of national life; one of 
the talents committed to nations by God. Like 
every other endowment of a complex organization, it 
must be held under control of the enlightened intel- 
lect and of the upright heart; but no more than any 
other can it be carelessly or lightly abjured, without 
incurring the responsibility of one who buries in the 
earth that which was entrusted to him for use. And 
this obligation to maintain right, by force if need be, 
while common to all states, rests peculiarly upon the 
greater, in proportion to their means. Much is re- 
quired of those to whom much is given. So viewed, 
the ability speedily to put forth the nation's power, 
by adequate organization and other necessary prepa- 
ration, according to the reasonable demands of 
the nation's intrinsic strength and of its position in 
the world, is one of the clear duties involved in the 
Christian word " watchfulness," readiness for the 
call that may come, whether expectedly or not. 
Until it is demonstrable that no evil exists, or 
threatens the world, which cannot be obviated with- 
out recourse to force, the obligation to readiness 
must remain; and, where evil is mighty and defiant, 
the obligation to use force that is, war arises. 
Nor is it possible, antecedently, to bring these con- 
ditions and obligations under the letter of precise 
and codified law, to be administered by a tribunal. 
The spirit of legalism is marked by blemishes as 
real as those commonly attributed to " militarism," 
and not more elevated. The considerations which 

The Moral Aspect of War 345 

determine good and evil, right and wrong, in crises 
of national life, or of the world's history, are ques- 
tions of equity often too complicated for decision 
upon mere rules, or even upon principles, of law, 
international or other. The instances of Bulgaria, 
of Armenia, and of Cuba, are entirely in point; and 
it is most probable that the contentions about the 
future of China will afford further illustration. 
Even in matters where the interest of nations is 
concerned, the moral element enters; because each 
generation in its day is the guardian of those which 
shall follow it. Like all guardians, therefore, while 
it has the power to act according to its best judg- 
ment, it has no right, for the mere sake of peace, 
to permit known injustice to be done to its wards. 

The present strong feeling in favor of arbitra- 
tion, throughout the nations of the world, is in itself 
a subject for congratulation almost unalloyed. It 
carries indeed a promise, to the certainty of which 
no paper covenants can pretend; for it influences the 
conscience by inward conviction, not by external 
fetter. But it must be remembered that such senti- 
ments, from their very universality and evident 
laudableness, need correctives, for they bear in 
themselves a great danger of excess or of pre- 
cipitancy. Excess is seen in the disposition, far too 
prevalent, to look upon war not only as an evil, but 
as an evil unmixed, unnecessary, and therefore 
always unjustifiable; while precipitancy, to reach 
results considered desirable, is evidenced by the 
wish to impose arbitration, to prevent recourse to 
war, by a general pledge previously made. Both 

346 Part III: Naval and National Policies 

frames of mind receive expression in the words of 
speakers among whom a leading characteristic 
is lack of measuredness and of proportion. Thus 
an eminent citizen is reported to have said : " There 
is no more occasion for two nations to go to war 
than for two men to settle their difficulties with 
clubs." Singularly enough, this point of view as- 
sumes to represent peculiarly Christian teaching. In 
so doing, it willfully ignores the truth that Chris- 
tianity, while it will not force the conscience by other 
than spiritual arguments, as " compulsory " arbitra- 
tion might, distinctly recognizes the sword as the 
resister and remedier of evil in the sphere " of this 

Arbitration's great opportunity has come in the 
advancing moral standards of states, whereby the 
disposition to deliberate wrong-doing has dimin- 
ished; consequently, the occasions for redressing 
wrong by force are less frequent to arise. In view 
of recent events, however, and very especially of 
notorious, high-handed oppression, initiated since 
the calling of the Peace Conference, 1 and resolutely 
continued during its sessions in defiance of the public 
opinion of the world at large, it is premature to 
assume that such occasions belong wholly to the 
past. Much less can it be assumed that there will 
be no further instances of a community believing, 
conscientiously and entirely, that honor and duty 
require of it a certain course, which another com- 
munity with equal integrity may hold to be incon- 

1 Lest this be misunderstood to be an allusion to the recent meas- 
ures of Japan in Korea, I renew here the caution that in this article all 
references to the Peace Conference are to that of 1899. 

The Moral Aspect of War 347 

sistent with the rights and obligations of its own 
members. It is, for instance, quite possible, espe- 
cially to one who has recently visited Holland, to con- 
ceive that Great Britain and the Boers are alike 
satisfied of the substantial justice of their respective 
claims. It is permissible most earnestly to hope 
that, in disputes between sovereign states, arbitra- 
tion may find a way to reconcile peace with fidelity 
to conscience, in the case of both; but if the convic- 
tion of conscience remains unshaken, war is better 
than disobedience, better than acquiescence in 
recognized wrong. The great danger of undis- 
criminating advocacy of arbitration, which threatens 
even the cause it seeks to maintain, is that it may 
lead men to tamper with equity, to compromise 
with unrighteousness, soothing their conscience with 
the belief that war is so entirely wrong that beside 
it no other tolerated evil is wrong. Witness Ar- 
menia, and witness Crete. War has been avoided; 
but what of the national consciences that beheld such 
iniquity and withheld the hand? 


TF it be true, as I have expressed my own convic- 
* tion, that moral motives are gaining in force the 
world over, we can have hope of the time when they 
shall prevail; but it is evident that they must pre- 
vail over all nations equally, or with some approach 
to equality, or else discussion between two disputants 
will not rest on the same plane. In the difference 
between the United States and Spain, I suppose the 
argument of the United States, the moral justifica- 
tion to itself of its proposed action, would be that 
misgovernment of Cuba, and needless Cuban suffer- 
ing, had continued so long as to show that Spain 
was not capable of giving good government to her 
distant dependency. There was no occasion to 
question her desire to give it, the honesty either of 
her assertions or measures to that end; but it was 
quite apparent that it was not in her to give effect 
to her efforts. Now, presuming Spain to take that 
view, it is conceivable (to the imagination) that her 
rulers might say, " Yes, it is true, we have failed 
continuously. The Cubans have a moral right to 
good government, and as we have not been able to 
give it them, it is right that we should step out." 
But, assuming Spain unequal to such sublime moral 
conviction and self-abnegation, what was the United 

1 "Some Neglected Aspects of War," The Hague Conference and 
the Practical Aspect of War (1907), pp. 75~8o, 9-93- 

The Practical Aspect of IV ar 349 

States to do, as a practical matter? What she did 
was perfectly practical; she used the last argument 
of nations as international law stands; but, suppose 
she had gone to arbitration, upon what grounds 
would the Court proceed? What the solid pre- 
arranged basis of its decision, should that be that 
Spain must evacuate Cuba? Is there anything in 
the present accord of states, styled International 
Law, that would give such power? And, more 
pertinent still, are states prepared now to concede 
to an arbitral Court the power to order them out of 
territory which in its opinion they misgovern, or 
which in its opinion they should not retain after con- 
quest? e. g., Schleswig Holstein, Alsace and Lor- 
raine, the Transvaal, Porto Rico and the Philip- 
pine Islands? 

Or, take another impending and very momentous 
instance, one fraught with immeasurable issues. If 
I rightly appreciate conditions, there is, among the 
English-speaking communities bordering the Pacific, 
a deep instinctive popular determination, one of 
those before which rulers have to bow, to exclude, 
from employment in the sparsely settled territories 
occupied by them, the concentrated crowded mass 
of mankind found in Japan and China. More than 
anything else this sums up the question of the Pacific. 
Two seas of humanity, on very different levels as 
to numbers and economical conditions, stand sepa- 
rated only by this artificial dyke of legislation, bar- 
ring the one from rushing upon and flooding the 
other. I do not criticize an attitude with which, 
whether I approve or not, I can sympathize; but as 

350 Pan III: Naval and National 7W/< 

I look at the legislation, and contrast the material 
conditions, I wonder at the improvidence of Aus- 
tralasia in trusting that laws, though breathing the 
utmost popular conviction and purpose, can protect 
their lands from that which threatens. " Go home," 
said Franklin to a fellow colonist in the days of un- 
rest in America, " and tell them to get children. 
That will settle all our difficulties." Fill up your 
land with men of your own kind, if you wish to keep 
it for yourselves. The Pacific States of North 
America are filling up, and, more important, they 
back solidly upon, and are politically one with, other 
great communities into which the human tide is 
pouring apace; yet in them, too, labor may inflict 
upon its own aims revolutionary defeat, if for sup- 
posed local advantage it embarrasses the immigra- 
tion of its own kind. It is very different for those 
who are severed from their like by sea, and there- 
fore must stand on their own bottom. All the naval- 
power of the British Empire cannot suffice ultimately 
to save a remote community which neither breeds 
men in plenty nor freely imports them. 

We speak of these questions now as racial, and 
the expression is convenient. It is compact, and 
represents truly one aspect of such situations, which, 
however, are essentially economical and territorial. 
In long-settled countries race and territory tend to 
identity of meaning, but we need scarce a moment's 
recollection to know that race does not bind as do 
border lines, nor even they as do economical facts. 
Economical facts largely brought about the separa- 
tion of America from Great Britain; economical 

The Practical Aspect of War 351 

facts brought about the American Union and con- 
tinue to bind it. The closer union of the territories 
which now constitute the British Empire must be 
found in economical adjustments; the fact of com- 
mon race is not sufficient thereto. Now, economical 
influences are of the most purely material order 
the order of personal self-interest; in that form at 
least they appeal to the great majority, for the in- 
structed political economists form but a small pro- 
portion of any community. Race, yes; territory 
country yes; the heart thrills, the eyes fill, self- 
sacrifice seems natural, the moral motive for the 
moment prevails; but in the long run the hard pres- 
sure of economical truth comes down upon these 
with the tyranny of the despot. There are, indeed, 
noble leaders not a few, who see in this crushing 
burden upon their fellow millions an enemy to be 
confronted and vanquished, not by direct opposition, 
but by circumvention, relieving his sway by better- 
ing environment, and so giving play to the loftier 
sentiments. But that these men may so work they 
need to be, as we say, independent, released from 
the grip of daily bread; and their very mission, 
alike in its success and its failures, testifies to the 
preponderant weight of economical conditions in the 
social world. . . . 

If with wealth, numbers and opportunity, a 
people still cannot so organize their strength as 
to hold their own, it is not practical to expect that 
those to whom wealth and opportunity are lacking, 
but who have organizing faculty and willingness 
to fight, will not under the pressure of need enter 

352 Part III : Naval and National Policies 

upon an inheritance which need will persuade them- 
selves is ethically their due. What, it may be as! 
is likely to be the reasoning of an intelligent Chinese 
or Japanese workman, realizing the relative oppor- 
tunities of his crowded country and those of Aus- 
tralia and California, and finding himself excluded 
by force? What ethical, what moral, value will he 
find in the contention that his people should not 
resort to force to claim a share in the better con- 
ditions from which force bars him? How did the 
white races respect the policy of isolation in Japan 
and China, though it only affected commercial ad- 
vantages? I do not in the least pronounce upon the 
ethical propriety of exclusion by those in possession 
the right of property, now largely challenged. I 
merely draw attention to the apparent balance of 
ethical argument, with the fact of antagonistic 
economical conditions; and I say that for such a 
situation the only practical arbiter is the physical 
force, of which war is merely the occasional political 

In the broad outlook, which embraces not merely 
armed collision, but the condition of preparation 
and attitude of mind that enable a people to put 
forth, on demand, the full measure of their physical 
strength, numerical, financial and military, to 
repel a threatened injury or maintain a national 
right, war is the regulator and adjuster of those 
movements of the peoples, which in their tendencies 
and outcome constitute history. These are natural 
forces, which from their origin and power are self- 
existent and independent in relation to man. I lis 

The Practical Aspect of War 353 

provision against them is war; the artificial or- 
ganization of other forces, intrinsically less powerful 
materially, but with the advantage which intelligent 
combination and direction confer. By this he can 
measurably control, guide, delay, or otherwise bene- 
ficially modify, results which threaten to be dis- 
astrous in their extent, tendency, or suddenness. So 
regarded war is remedial or preventive. 

I apprehend that these two adjectives, drawn 
from the vocabulary of the healer, embody both the 
practical and moral justification of war. An ounce 
of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It will be 
well that we invoke moral power to help heal the 
evils of the world, as the physician brings it to bear 
on the ills of the body; but few are prepared to rely 
upon it alone. We need material aid as well. The 
dikes of Holland withstand by direct opposition the 
natural mission of the North Sea to swallow up the 
land they protect. The levees of the Mississippi 
restrain and guide to betterment the course of the 
mighty current, which but for them would waste its 
strength to devastate the shores on either hand. 
These two artificial devices represent a vast ex- 
penditure of time, money, and energy; of unproduc- 
tive labor so-called; but they are cheaper than a 
flood. The police of our great cities prevent the 
outburst of crime, the fearful possibilities of which 
manifest themselves on the happily rare occasions 
when material prevention has from any cause lapsed. 
The police bodies are a great expense ; but they cost 
less than a few days of anarchy. Let us not deceive 
ourselves by fancying that the strong material im- 

354 Part III: Naval and National Policies 

pulses which drive those masses of men whom we 
style nations, or races, are to be checked or guided, 
unless to the argument of a reasonable contention 
there be given the strong support of organized 
material power. If the organized disappear, the 
unorganized will but come into surer and more 
dreadful collision. 


THERE is one further conclusion to be drawn 
from the war between Japan and Russia, which 
contradicts a previous general impression that I my- 
self have shared, and possibly in some degree have 
contributed to diffuse. That impression is, that 
navies depend upon maritime commerce as the cause 
and justification of their existence. To a certain ex- 
tent, of course, this is true ; and, just because true to 
a certain extent, the conclusion is more misleading. 
Because partly true, it is accepted as unqualifiedly 
true. Russia has little maritime commerce, at least 
in her own bottoms; her merchant flag is rarely seen; 
she has a very defective sea-coast; can in no sense 
be called a maritime nation. Yet the Russian navy 
had the decisive part to play in the late war; and the 
war was unsuccessful, not because the navy was not 
large enough, but because it was improperly handled. 
Probably, it also was intrinsically insufficient bad 
in quality; poor troops as well as poor generalship. 
The disastrous result does not contravene the truth 
that Russia, though with little maritime shipping, 
was imperatively in need of a navy. 

I am not particularly interested here to define the 
relations of commerce to a navy. It seems reason- 
able to say that, where merchant shipping exists, it 

1 "Naval Strategy," pp. 44S~447- 

356 Part III: Naval and National Policies 

tends logically to develop the form of protection 
which is called naval; but it has become perfectly 
evident, by concrete examples, that a navy may be 
necessary where there is no shipping. Russia and 
the United States to-day are such instances in point. 
More and more it becomes clear, that the functions 
of navies are distinctly military and international, 
whatever their historical origin in particular cases. 
The navy of the United States, for example, took 
its rise from purely commercial considerations. Ex- 
ternal interests cannot be confined to those of com- 
merce. They may be political as well as com- 
mercial; may be political because commercial, like 
the claim to " the open door" in China; may be 
political because military, essential to national de- 
fense, like the Panama Canal and Hawaii; may be 
political because of national prepossessions and 
sympathies, race sympathies, such as exist in Europe, 
or traditions like the Monroe Doctrine. The Mon- 
roe Doctrine in its beginnings was partly an ex- 
pression of commercial interest, directed against a 
renewal of Spanish monopoly in the colonial system; 
it was partly military, defensive against European 
aggressions and dangerous propinquity; partly po- 
litical, in sympathy with communities struggling for 

A broad basis of mercantile maritime interests 
and shipping will doubtless conduce to naval effi- 
ciency, by supplying a reserve of material and per- 
sonnel. Also, in representative governments, mili- 
tary interests cannot without loss dispense with the 
backing which is supplied by a widely spread, deeply 

Motives for Naval Power 357 

rooted, civil interest, such as merchant shipping 
would afford us. 

To prepare for war in time of peace is imprac- 
ticable to commercial representative nations, because 
the people in general will not give sufficient heed to 
military necessities, or to international problems, to 
feel the pressure which induces readiness. All that 
naval officers can do is to realize to themselves 
vividly, make it a part of their thought, that a 
merchant shipping is only one form of the many 
which the external relations of a country can assume. 
We have such external questions in the Monroe 
Doctrine, the Panama Canal, the Hawaiian Islands, 
the market of China, and, I may add, in the exposure 
of the Pacific Coast, with its meagre population, in- 
sufficiently developed resources, and somewhat tur- 
bulent attitude towards Asiatics. The United States, 
with no aggressive purpose, but merely to sustain 
avowed policies, for which her people are ready to 
fight, although unwilling to prepare, needs a navy 
both numerous and efficient, even if no merchant 
vessel ever again flies the United States flag. If we 
hold these truths clearly and comprehensively, as 
well as with conviction, we may probably affect those 
who affect legislation. At all events, so to hold will 
do no harm. 


1840. September 27, Alfred Thayer Mahan born at West 
Point, New York, son of Professor Dennis Hart 
Mahan of the U. S. Military Academy. 

1854-1856. Student at Columbia College in the City of 
New York. 

1856. September 30, entered the third class, U. S. Naval 
Academy, as acting midshipman. Appointed from 
the loth Congressional District of New York. 

J 859. June 9, graduated as midshipman. 
1859-1861, Frigate Congress, Brazil station. 
1 86 1. August 31, promoted to lieutenant. Converted 
steamer James Adger for ten days. 

1861-1862. Steam corvette Pocahontas, in the Potomac 
flotilla; capture of Port Royal, November 7, 1861 ; 
South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. 

1862-1863. Naval Academy at Newport, Rhode Island. 
First lieutenant in the Macedonian during the sum- 
mer practice cruise to England in 1863. 

1863-1864. Steam corvette Seminole, West Gulf Block- 
ading Squadron. 

1864-1865. James Adger; staff of Rear Admiral Dahlgren, 
South Auantic Blockading Squadron; James Adger. 

1865-1866. Double-ender Muscoota. 

1865. June 7, promoted to lieutenant commander. 

1866. Ordnance duty, Washington Navy Yard. 
1867-1869. Steam sloop Iroquois, to Asiatic station, via 

Cape of Good Hope. Detached in 1869; returned 
via Rome and Paris. 
1869. Commanding gunboat Aroostook, Asiatic station. 

360 Appendix 

1870-1871. Navy yard, New York. 

1871. Worcester, home station. 

1872. Promoted to commander. Receiving ship, New York. 

1873-1874. Commanding side-wheel steamer Wasp in the 
Rio de la Plata. 

1875-1876. Navy yard, Boston. 
1877-1880. Naval Academy, Annapolis. 
1880-1883. Navy yard, New York. 

1883-1885. Commanding steam sloop Wachusett, South 
Pacific Squadron. 

1885. Assigned to Naval War College, as lecturer on naval 

history and strategy. 
1886-1889. President of Naval War College. 

1889-1892. Special duty, Bureau of Navigation. Member 
of commission to choose site for navy yard in Puget 

1892-1893. President of Naval War College. 

1893-1895. Commanding cruiser Chicago, flagship of Rear 
Admiral Erben, European station. 

1895-1896. Special duty at the Naval War College. 
1896. November 17, retired as captain on his own applica- 
tion after forty years' service. 

1896-1912. Special duty in connection with Naval War 

1898. Member of Naval War Board during Spanish War. 

1899. Delegate to Hague Peace Conference. 
1906. June 29, rear admiral on the retired list. 

1914. December I, died at the Naval Hospital, Washington. 


D.C.L., Oxford, 1894; LL.D., Cambridge, 1894; LL.D., 
Harvard, 1895; LL.D., Yale, 1897; LL.D., Columbia, 
1900; LL.D., Magill, 1909; President of the American 
Historical Association, 1902. 

Appendix 361 


1883. " The Gulf and Inland Waters." 

1890. "The Influence of Sea Power upon History. 1660- 

1892. " The Influence of Sea Power upon the French Revo- 
lution and Empire, 1793-1812." Two volumes. 
" The Life of Admiral Farragut." 

1897. "The Life of Nelson: the Embodiment of the Sea 
Power of Great Britain." Two volumes. 
" The Interest of America in Sea Power, Present and 

1899. "Lessons of the War with Spain." 

1900. "The Problem of Asia, and its Effect upon Inter- 
national Policies." 

"The Story of the War with South Africa, 1899- 

1901. "Types of Naval Officers, Drawn from the History 
of the British Navy." 

1902. "Retrospect and Prospect: Studies in International 
Relations, Naval and Political." 

1905. "Sea Power in its Relations to the War of 1812." 
Two volumes. 

1907. " Some Neglected Aspects of War." 

" From Sail to Steam : Recollections of a Naval Life." 

1908. " Naval Administration and Warfare." 

1909. "The Harvest Within: Thoughts on the Life of a 

1910. " The Interest of America in International Con- 

1911. " Naval Strategy, Compared and Contrasted with the 
Principles and Practice of Military Operations on 

1912. " Armaments and Arbitration: the Place of Force in 
International Relations." 

1913. "The Major Operations of the Navies in the War 
of American Independence." 

362 Appendix 


" Reflections, Historical and Other, Suggested by the 
Battle of the Sea of Japan," U. S. Naval Institute, Jum-, 
1906; Reprinted in Journal of the Royal United Service 
Institution, November, 1906. 

"The Battleship of All Big Guns," World's Work, 
January, 1911. 

"Misrepresenting Mr. Roosevelt," Outlook, June 17, 

" Importance of Command of the Sea," Scientific Ameri- 
can, December 9, 1911. 

" Was Panama a Chapter of National Dishonor? " North 
American Review, October, 1912. 

"Japan among Nations," Living Age, August 2, 1913. 

" Twentieth Century Christianity," North American Re- 
view, April, 1914. 

" Macdonough at Plattsburg," North American Review, 
August, 1914. 

" The Panama Canal and the Distribution of the Fleet," 
North American Review, September, 1914. 


There is at present no printed source for the life of Mahan 
except his autobiographical record " From Sail to Steam," 
which is confined almost entirely to the period preceding his 
retirement in 1896. Aside from book reviews, the more 
important critical essays and tributes are as follows: 

" Mahan's Counsels to the United States," G. S. Clarke, 
Nineteenth Century, Review, February, 1898. 

" Mahan on Sea Power," S. G. W. Benjamin, New York 
Times Book Review, January 18, 1902. 

" La Maitrise de la Mer," Auguste Moireau, Revue des 
Deux Mondes, October, 1902. 

" Some American Historians," Professor H. Morse 
Stephens, World's Work, July, 1902. 


" Lee at Appomattox and Other Papers," Charles Francis 
Adams, 1903, p. 356 ff. 

" The Writings of Mahan," New York Nation, Decem- 
ber 10, 1914. 

"A Great Public Servant," Theodore Roosevelt, Out- 
look, January 13, 1915. See also Outlook, December 9, 

" Alfred Thayer Mahan In Memoriam," United States 

Naval Institute, January-February, 1915. 

" The Influence of America's Greatest Naval Strategist 
on the War in Europe," Current Opinion, February, 1915. 
(Taken from Paris Figaro.) 

"Naval History: Mahan and his Successors," Military 
Historian and Economist, January, 1918. 


ADEN, viii, 152 

Admiralty, British, organization of, 

118-122; 194, 195 
Adriatic Sea, 26, 306 
Africa, 46. See SOUTH AFRICA 
Alabama, Confederate cruiser, 96 
Alaska, 40 

Alava, Spanish admiral, 215 
Alexander the Great, campaigns of, 

Alexander I, of Russia, 224-226 
Algeciras Conference, 306 
Alliances, military weakness of, 60, 

61, 315. See ENTENTE; TRIPLE 


Alsace-Lorraine, 326, 349 
American Independence, War of, 

2 3 > 85, 343; unwise policy of 

England in, 143-144; influence of 

sea power in, 164170. 
Amsterdam, 34, 39. 
Antilles, Lesser, strategic value of, 

102, 105, 107, 108 
Antwerp, 30, 306 
Arbitration, xvii, inadequacy of, 

293-295, 344-347 
Armenia, 345, 347 
Armored cruiser, a faulty type, 260 
Atlantic Coast, of United States, 

35,65-67, in-112, 274, 285 
Australia, 148, 149, 350 
Austria, in Thirty Years' War, 
50 ff.; in Napoleonic Wars, 76, 
191, 228; in Seven Years' War, 
147; an ally of Germany, 304- 
306,317,322,323, 327 


Baltic Sea, 31, 82, 186, 188, 191, 

273, 274, 313 f 
Barbados, 60, 196 

Bases, naval, for permanent opera- 
tions, 28; in the Caribbean, 29; 
exposed to land attack, 71; use- 
less without a navy, 287. Set 

Battleships, design of, 61-62. Set 

Beachy Head, battle of, 81, 155, 

Belgium, ports of, closed, 30; a 

possession of Spain, 38; 50, 57, 

60, 67 

Berlin Decree, 95, 331 
Bermuda, 105 
Biscay, Bay of, 192 
Bismarck, Prince, xiii, 326 
Blockade, in the Civil War, 41-42, 

94; military, 86; commercial, 94- 

99, 330-331; defense against, 

129-132; of Santiago, 251-255; 

of France, in Napoleonic Wars, 

Bombardment, defense against, 


Bombay, viii, 153 
Boulogne, 191, 192, 194, 197 
Bourrienne, Napoleon's secretary, 

13, 14 

Boyne, battle of, 37 
Brest, 23, 24, 31, 154. '74. i9*-94 

196, 222 

Brbck, General, 233, 234 
Brunswick, British ship, 180-182 
Bucentaure, French ship, 215-219 
Bulgaria, 345 
Byng, British Admiral, 85, 86, 158 

CADIZ, 26, 58; Villeneuve at, 197- 

202, 208-2II, 210-222 

Caesar, campaigns of, 4, 14 
Calder, British Admiral, 196 
Camara, Spanish Admiral, 252 



Canada, 143, 147, 154; in War of 
1812, 229-240; 307 

Cape Verde Islands, 241 

Caribbean Sea, strategic impor- 
tance of, 27-29, 289,325; features 
of, 100-112; map of, 100; hurri- 
cane in, 244 

Cartagena, 26 

Central Line, or Position, defined 
and illustrated, 50-67, 103; of 
Germany, 53 

Cervera, Spanish Admiral, squad- 
ron of, 59, 88, 89; approach of, 
241-249; blockaded at Santiago, 

Champlam, Lake, battle of, 235, 


Channel, British, 23, 24, 25, 52, 53, 
69, 140; defenses in, against Na- 
poleon, 191-195; controlled by 
England, 312-115 

Charles, Archduke, campaigns of, 
ii ft 

Chauncey, Commodore,^ 5-23 6 

Chemulpo, 256, 267 

Cherbourg, 31, 174 

Chesapeake Bay, British forces in, 
31; battle off, 164-170 

China, at war with Japan, 296; and 
foreign powers, 300, 345; emigra- 
tion from, 349, 352. See OPEN 

Cienfuegos, 59, 88, 89, 103, 241, 
246, 247 

Civil War, American, Mahan's ser- 
vice in, viii; blockade in, 41-42, 
94-96; Farragut in, 76; results of, 

Clausewitz, Karl von, quoted, 89 

Clinton, Sir Henry, 164, 167 

Coasts, influence of, on naval de- 
velopment, 28-32, 40-42; de- 
fense of, 89, 129-133; fortifica- 
tion of, 261. Sff FRONTIERS 

Codrington, Sir Edward, 178, 183, 


Colbert, French Minister, 138, 139 

Collingwood, British Admiral, at 

battle of June First, 178; off 

Rochefort, 192; at Trafalgar, 197, 

201, 206, 213-217, 220 

Colonies, national po'icies regard- 
ing, xiv, 45~46; as motives for a 
navy, 20; British, 22; Germany's 
desire for, 319, 323 < 

Commerce, easier by sea than by 
land, 16; importance of foreign, 
17, 148; as a motive for naval 
power, 18-19, 3SS-3S7; routes of, 
69-70, 76-78 

Commerce Warfare, operations of, 
discussed, 5, 91-99; a weapon of 
the weaker sea power, 24; re- 
quires distant bases, 25, 154; in 
the Napoleonic Wars, 108, 223- 

Communications, facility of, by 
sea, 1 6, 77, 286, 331-332: be- 
tween England and Ireland, 37, 
38; importance of, in warfare, 
52-60, 75-78, 92; maintained by 
naval forces, 154; altered by in- 
teroceanic canals, 288-290 

Compromise, evils of, 259-262; in 
Rozhestvensky's plans, 281 

Concentration, defined and illus- 
trated, 60-67; disregarded by 
Russia 'in war with Japan, 270- 
275, 277-282 

Continental System, Napoleon's, 
198, 223-228 

Contraband, 99 

Convoys, 17 

Copenhagen, Nelson's campaign of, 

Corbett, Sir Julian, quoted, 85, 

Corfu, 287 

Cornwallis, British Admiral, 192, 
194, 196 

Cornwallis, General, at Yorktown, 
159, 164-170 

Corsica, 26 

Corunna, 52 

Crete, 58, 70, 347 

Cronstadt, 273 

Cuba, strategic value of, 59, 74, 79, 
100-112; in Spanish War, 243, 

245. 345, 348, 349 
Culebra Island, til 
Curafao, 241, 248 


Curieux, British brig," 196 

Curtis, British Captain, 178, 179, 

Cyprus, 153 

D'ACHE, French Admiral, 153 
Danube, central position on, 50, 

53-56, 60, 67 

Dearborn, General, 236, 238 
De Barras, French Admiral, in the 

American Revolution, 164-168 
Defensive, limited role of, in naval 

warfare, 87-90, 309-311; in the 

War of 1812, 228 ff ' 
De Grasse, French Admiral, at 

Saints' "Passage, 160; off the 

Chesapeake, 164-170 
Du Guichen, French Admiral, en- 
gaged with Rodney, 159163 
Denmark, trade of, 25; waters of, 

51; Nelson's campaign against, 


De Ruyter, Dutch Admiral, 207 
Detroit, 233, 238, 239 
Dewey, Admiral, vii 
Dominica, 160 
Dumanoir, French Admiral, at 

Trafalgar, 218-220 

EGYPT, Napoleon in, 58, 127, 192; 

British rule in, 152, 191, 343 
Entente, Triple, 53, 304-306, 317- 

Erie, Lake, operations on, 232, 233, 

235-236, 238, 240 

FAR EAST, political conditions in, 
289-291, 296-297. See CHINA; 

Farragut, Admiral, his place as a 
naval leader, xvi; at Mobile, 64, 
251; on the Mississippi, 76; 
quoted, 340 

Ferrol, 192, 196, 197 

Fighting Instructions, of the Brit- 
ish Navy, 157-158 

Fleet in Being, theory of, 81; illus- 
trated by Cervera's fleet, 242- 
248; in Russo-Japanese War, 

Florida, exposed position of, 36, 
65, 66; Straits of, 69, 147 

Flying Squadron, in Spanish War, 
x, 59, 88, 89, 241, 246 

Fortress Fleet, 258-269 

Francaise, Cape, 165, 166 

France, a rival of Great Britain, 
xiv; geographical condition* af- 
fecting 22-25; ports of, 31, 32; 
in Napoleonic Wars, 43-44, 171- 
174; colonial policy of, 46; in 
Thirty Years' War, 50-57; ex- 
hausted under Louis XIV, 137- 
140; in American Revolution, 
143-144; in Seven Years' War, 
H7, IS3-I54; opposed to Ger- 
many, 305, 317-318, 320; ar- 
rested growth of, in population, 
307, 322; Channel coast of, 312- 
313. See NAVY, FRENCH 

Franklin, Benjamin, quoted, 350 

Frederick the Great, 14, 147 

French Revolution, 152; effect on 
French navy, 171-17*, 178 

Frontiers, advantage or seaboard, 
30; of United States, regarded as 
a line, 65-67, 112; warfare on, in 
1812, 229-234. See COASTS 

GENOA, 67 

Germany, recent naval policy of, 
xiii-xv, 51; trade of, 25; rivers of, 
33, 69; central position of, 53; 
possible acquisitions in West 
Indies, 288; political character 
and aims of, 292, 302-308, 317- 
327; and Far East, 299; her sea 
routes threatened by Great 
Britain, 312-316, 333, 336. Sff 

Gibraltar, an important base, 20, 
22, 58, 69, 74, 152, 154; acquired 
by Great Britain, 26, 147, i?7l 
siege of, 85, 86, 107, 178; Nelson 
at, 196, 199, 209 

Good Hope, Cape of, 20, 26, 33, 51, 
152, 290, 314 

Graves, British Admiral, off the 
Chesapeake, 160, 164-170 

Gravina, Spanish Admiral, at 
Trafalgar, 210-211, 214, 219-220 



Great Britain, growth of, in naval 
power, xiv, 32-34, 43-44; colonial 
policy of, 45, 46, 343; naval pol- 
icy of, 47-48, 141-146; commun- 
ity of interests with United 
States, in, 291-295, 318-332; in 
American Revolution, 143-144; 
gains of, in Seven Years' War, 
147-154; navy her first line of de- 
fense, 191-195; in commerce war- 
fare with Napoleon, 223-228, 
3 10-3 1 1 ; and problem of imperial 
federation, 293; threatened by 
Germany, 302-308; policy of, re- 
lating to seizure of private prop- 
erty at sea, 333-338. Stf NAVY, 

Guadeloupe, 25, 143 

Guantanamo, 58, 103-107, 1 1 1 

HAGUE, THE, 155-157, 165, 166. 

Haiti, 105, 108 
Halifax, IOC 

Hamilton, Lady Emma, 200 
Hampton Roads, x, 59, 66, 89, 241, 

Hannibal, campaigns of, 4, 14 

Havana, 39, co, 88, 89, 105, 106, 
no, 143, 166,241, 246, 247 

Havre, 174 

Hawaiian Islands, value of, to the 
United States, 285-287, 356, 357; 
Japanese in, 301 

Hawke, British Admiral, 155 

Heligoland, xiv 

Holland, dependent on commerce, 
161; as a sea power, 22, 23; trade 
of, 25; closes Belgian ports, 30; 
raids Chatham, 30; naval rivalry 
with England, 32-34, 312, 313; at 
war with Spain, 37-38, 342; col- 
onial policy of, 45-46: rivers of, 
69; in wars of Louis XIV, 137- 
140; in Napoleonic Wars, 193; 
possible union'with Germany, 320 

Hood, British Admiral, 167, 168 

Hotham, British Admiral, 81 

Howe, British Admiral, policy of, 5; 
in the battle of June First, 175-183 

Hudson River, 31, 166 

INDIA, British in, 147, 151, 317, 
343; route to, 152, 153 

Interior Lines, value of, in warfare, 
51-67; illustrated, 103, 314 

International Law, regard for, in 
Napoleonic Wars, 227-228; in- 
adequate to check national ag- 
gressions, 300 

Ireland, 37, 313 

Italy, position of, 26; exposed by 
sea, 36-37; in wars of France and 
Austria, 50, 56, 60; unification of, 
292; interests of, opposed to those 
of Germany and Austria, 305- 
306, 317 

JAMAICA, lost by Spain, 39; threat- 
ening position of, 58; strategic 
value of, IOO-II2 

James II, of England, 38, 277; 
fighting instructions issued by, 

IS7-I5 8 

Japan, influenced by Mahan's writ- 
ings, xvi; in war with Russia, 56, 
57, 60; influence in Asia, 76-78, 
82-84; coerced by the European 
powers, 291-292; growth of, 296- 
297, 326; and the Open Door Pol- 
icy, 299-301; compared with 
Germany, 303, 324; and Great 
Britain, 306-307, 318, 320; emi- 
gration from, 149-352. Sff 

Jervis. Sff ST. VINCENT 

Jomini, on strategy, u, 12, 49, 321; 
on strategic lines, 64, 65, 218; on 
Napoleon, 80; on British sea 
power, 141 

June First, battle of, 175-183 

KAMIMURA, Japanese Admiral, 


Kamranh Bay, 81 
Keith, British Admiral, 194 
Key West, 29, 36, HI, 241, 269 
Kiel Canal, xiv, 51 
Kingston, in Canada, 231-240; in 

Jamaica, 107 
Korea, 256, 300, 346 
Kuropatkin, Russian General, 256, 




LAFAYETTE, General, 164, 169 
La Hogue, battle of, 155-157, 165 

1 66 

Levant, trade of, 33 
Line of Battle, of fleets, 62, 156, 

158, 162, 163. See STRATEGIC 


Logistics, defined, 49 
London, 30 
Louis XIV, of France, 37, 155; wars 

of, 137-141 

Louis XVI, of France, 172 
Louisburg, 20, 154 

MACDONOUGH, Commodore, 142 

Madagascar, viii, 82 

Madrid, 8 1, 209 

Magellan, Straits of, 51, 67, 290 

Malta, 20, 26, 58, 70, 107, 152, 287 

Manchuria, 56, 57, 267, 300 

Manila, 39, 143 

Mantua, 76, 80 

Marengo, battle "of, 13, 14, 76, 


Marlborough, Duke of, 142 

Martinique, 25, 74, 104, 143, 154, 
160, 161, 196, 241 

Masampo Bay, 66 

Mauritius, 20, 152 

Mediterranean Sea, position of 
France on, 22, 59, 140; impor- 
tance of, as a trade route, 27, 31, 
39, 289-290; Villeneuve ordered 
to, 198-199; bases in, 287, 314 

Metz, 71 

Mexico, Gulf of, 29, 31, 35, 36, 65, 
66; strategic features of, 100-112, 

Milan, 50, 53 

Minorca, 39, 107, 147, 154, 158 

Mississippi River, importance of, 

2 9> 3 J 35) 69* IOO IOI > m tne 

Civil War, 42, 76, 143 
Mobile Bay, battle of, 64, 251 
Mona Passage, 102 
Monroe Doctrine, 102, in, 149, 

288-291, 318, 320-322, 325, 356 
Montreal, 231, 233, 234, 238, 240 
Moore, Sir John, 8 1 
Morocco, 306, 318, 320 
Mukden, battle of, 56, 256 

NAPLES, 38, 39 

Napoleon, as a strategian, n; anec- 
dote of, 12-14; quoted, 4, 14, 55, 
58,70,78, no, 155, 173,241 
287, 296, 335; at Marengo and 
Mantua, 76, 257; a believer in 
the offensive, 80, 81, 152, i 
commerce warfare with Great 
Britain, 92, 93, 95, 223-228, 331; 
armies of, 172; and the northern 
neutrals, 184, 187; his plan for 
the invasion of England, 191- 
198; and the Trafalgar campaign, 
221-223, 248; downfall of, 237; at 
Waterloo, 239 

Napoleonic Wars, 12, 31, 80, 8l, 

XT H2, 307, 310, 343. 

Naval Administration, civil p/. 
military, 113-115; in peace and 
war, 115-118; British, 118-122; 
United States, 122-124. Sff 

Naval Training, 8-15 

Naval War College, Mahan at, uc; 
aims of, 10-15 

Navarino, battle of, 178 

Navies, motives for, 1 8, 355-357; a 
protection for commerce, 19; 
fighting order of, 61; an offensive 
weapon, 71-73 

Navigation Acts, British, 337 

Navy, British; training of officers 
in, 8-9; compared with French, 
43; maneuvers of, 72; tactics of, 
in the i8th century, 156-158; 
protection afforded by ,306-308; 
French: training of officers in, 
8-9; compared with British, 43; 
weakness of, in Revolutionary 
Wars, 146, 171-174, 178; faulty 
policy of, 155-158; German: 
growth and purpose of, ill, 299, 
307, 317-320; United States: in- 
terested chiefly in material, 8; in 
Civil War, 41; insufficient, 44; in 
Spanish War, 59-60, 245, 250- 
253; concentration of fleet of, 60, 
274-275; administration of. 
124; requirements of, 128-134 

^ebogatoff, Russian Admiral, 83 

kelson, British Admiral, his place 



as a naval leader, xvi; in the 
Trafalgar campaign, 5, 62, 63 
196-223; his pursuit of Napo- 
leon in the Mediterranean, 58; 
on concentration, 61; quoted, 80 
82, 85, 175, 253; and the rule o 
obedience, 126-127; n the Co- 
penhagen campaign, 184-190; in 
command of channel forces, 191- 
192, 195 

Netherlands. Ste BELGIUM; HOL- 

Neutrality, League of Armed, 184- 

Newport, Rhode Island, ix, 164, 

New York, 31,69, 73, 164-167 

Niagara frontier, warfare on, 231- 
232. 235-236 

Nile, battle of, 153 

North Sea, 23, 25, 51, 313-316 

Nossi-Be, 82, 83 

OFFENSIVE, advantage of, in war, 
128-133, 229, 309-311; opera- 
tions of, discussed, 79-86; navy 
chiefly useful for, 70-73 

Ontario, Lake, campaign on, in 
War of 1812, 229-240 

Open Door Policy, 299-301, 325, 

35^, 357. 

Oregon, United States ship, 59, 60 
Oswego, 232 

PACIFIC COAST, of United States, 
1C, 40. 67, in, 112, 285, 289; im- 
mieration to, 350, 356 

Pacific Ocean, interest of the 
United States in, 289, 299-301 

Panama Canal, its effect on naval 
policy, 18, 27-29, 321;; an interior 
line, 51, 301; central position of, 
67, 70, 77; strategic importance 
of, TOO-II2, 140, MO, 3<;6-K7; 
need of controlling approaches 
to, 285-287; and the Monroe 
Doctrine, 288-291, 318 

Paris, Treaty of, 147-148; Declara- 
tion of. 90, ^7; citv of, 198 

Parker. British Admiral, 184-190 

Peace Conferences, at The Hague, 

Peninsular War, 81, 82 

Pensacola, 29 

Philippine Islands, 252, 349 

Pitt, Sir William, British Prime 

Minister, 143, 151 
Plevna, 56, 57 
Plymouth, England, 24, 3 1 
Pondicherry, 78, 154 
Population, affecting sea power, 

43-44; of Pacific Coast, 301 
Port Arthur, threatening Japanese 

communications, 56, 57; attacked 

by siege, 71, 82; squadron based 

on, 256-271, 275 
Port Mahon, 289 
Porto Rico, 241, 349 
Ports, in Gulf and Caribbean, 28, 29; 

flanking communications, 56-58 
Portsmouth, England, 31 
Preparation, for war, 128-134, 229- 

230, 237-238, 357 
Private property at sea, immunity 

of, 78, 93. 98, 99, 328-341; Rule 

of 1756 regarding, 227-228 
Prussia 147, 153, 189, 191, 228 
Puget Sound, 67 
Pyrenees, 52, 65 

Red Sea, 152 
Resources, affecting strategic value 

of positions, 68, 69, 74 
Revel, 188-190 
Rhine River, 50, 52, 53, 55, 56, 60, 


Richelieu, Cardinal, 31, 60 
Rions, Commodore de, 174 
Robespierre, 178 
Rochambeau, 164, 166, 170 
Rochefort, 174, 192 
Rodney, Admiral, in battle with 

DeGuichen, 155, 159-164 
man Empire, 301 
looke, British Admiral, 156, 157 
Rosily, French Admiral, 199, 208, 


Rotterdam, 336 

Voyal Sovtrfien, British ship, 123-217 
lo/hestvensky, Russian Admiral, 

66, 70, 82-84, 257, 265, 270, 274, 



Russia, trade of, 25; alliance of, 53 
in Asia, 76-78, 153, 300; in Sevei 
Years' War, 147; in Napoleoni 
Wars, 184-190, 192, 224-226; 
member of the Entente, 305, 317- 
318; decreased strength of, 322 
her need of a navy, 327, 355-356 

Russo-Japanese War, 56-57, 64 
66, 82-84, 88, 256-282, 355 


St. George's Channel, 37 

St. Helena, 20, 152 

St. Lawrence, Gulf of, 20; river 
true frontier in 1812, 230 ff. 

St. Thomas, 103 

St. Vincent, Lord, policy of, 5, 193 

Sainte-Andre, French Commis- 
sioner, 173, 179 

Saints' Passage, battle of, 160, 169 

Samana Bay, 103 

Sampson, Admiral, vii, 241, 249, 

Santa Lucia, 74, 103, 105, 108 

Santiago de Cuba, 71, 103, 104, 107, 
241, 243, 246, 247; blockade and 
battle of, 250-255 

Santisima Trinidad, Spanish ship, 
214, 215, 217, 218, 220 

Sardinia, 37 

Scheldt River, 30, 248 

Schleswig-Holstein, 349 

Schley, Admiral, 241, 246 

Sea Power, dependence on, a Brit- 
ish policy, xv; scope of history of, 
3; elements of, 16-47; conditions 
affecting, 21; growth of British, 
141-146, 151-152; controls com- 
munications, 77-78; decisive in 
warfare, 98, 99; an important ele- 
ment in national growth, 154, 
286-287; in Napoleonic Wars, 
191-197, 221-224; a protection 
against aggressions by land pow- 
ers, 306-308; interest in, 326-327 

Secession, War of. See CIVIL WAR 

Semenoff, Russian Captain, quoted, 

Seven Years' War, 85-86, 142-144, 
147-154, 307 

Shafter, General, 269 

Sherman, General, quoted, 335 

Ship design, unity of purpose in, 

Sicily, 37, 38, 39, 42 

Situation, determines strategic 
value of a point, 69-70, 1 10 

Smith, Sir Sidney, 126 

Socotra, 152 

Sound, between North and Baltic 
Seas, 51, 185, 186, 190 

South Africa, 290; war in, 293-295, 

South America, unstable political 
conditions in, 148-149; applica- 
tion of Monroe Doctrine to, 290 

Spain, position of, 26; dependence 
on sea power, 38, 39; colonial 
policy of, 45; in i8th century, 

141-142, 143-144, 151-152; m 
Napoleonic Wars, 81, 221, 226; 
colonial empire of, lost, 291, 

Spanish-American War, strategy of, 
x, 59-60, 88-90; Cervera's fleet 
in, 241-249; Santiago blockade, 
250-255; strengthened Anglo- 
American unity, 291-29?; could 
not have been avoided by arbi- 
tration, 342, 348-349 
5peed, of battleships, 61, 246-248 
Strassburg, 71, 137 
Strategic Lines and Positions, in 
the Caribbean, 65-78, 100-112; 
in the War of 1812, 238-240 
Strategy, denned, 4, 12, 49; value 
of study of, 5; in War of 1812, 
229-240; must take into account 
political conditions, 250-253, 
320-327; illustrated by mistake*, 
257; must be exercised in time of 
peace, 274; chief aim of, 311 
lubmarines, 70, 99 
uez Canal, 26, 28, 51, 70, 77, 152, 
252, 261, 289, 290 
uffren, French Admiral, 86, 153 
ully, French Minister, 38 
uvarof, General, 262 
weden, trade of, 25; in Thirty 
Years' War, 53; in 1800, 184-190 


TACTICS, defined, 4, 49; illustrated 
in history, 5-7; in naval combats, 
62-64' formalism in, 155-158; 
changes in, at close of i8th cen- 
tury, 159 ff., 168; chief aim of, 

Territory, extent of, affecting sea 

power, 39-42 
Tcxel, 193 
Tobago, 1 60 
Togo, Japanese Admiral, 60, 66, 

82-84, 9> 270, 276-280 
Torbay, 24 
Toronto, 231, 236 
Torpedo craft, 130-134 
Torrington, British Admiral, 242, 

Toulon, 57, 58, 154, 174, 192, 193, 

196, 248 

Tourville, French Admiral, 80, 8 1, 
^ 155, 159, 207 
Trade. Sff COMMERCE 
Trafalgar, battle of, 5, 62, 192, 194, 

196-223, 248 
Trieste, 306 
Trincomalee, 86 
Triple Alliance, 53, 304-3. >, 317- 


Triple Entente. See ENTENTE 
Tsushima, battle of, 64, 70, 82-84, 

88, 265, 276-282 
Turkey, 33, 148, 150 

ULM, co 71, 76, 191 

United States, merchant marine of, 
'8, 35; geographical position of, 
22; and Panama Canal, 27-29; 
seacoasts of, inadequately pro- 
tected, 34-36; exposed only by 
sea, 39; deficient in seafaring 
population, 44; colonial policy of, 
46; seacoasts of, regarded as a 
line, 65-67; naval requirements 
of, 133-134; community of inter- 
ests with Great Britain, 291-295, 
306-308, 318-327; expansion of, 
297-298; and the Open Door 
Policy, 299; political ideals of, 
302; policy of, regarding com- 

merce warfare, 331-333. Sft 
Utrecht, peace of, 141-142 

VENCEUR, French ship, 180-182 

Venice, 306 

Victory, Nelson's flagship, 213-214 

Vigo Bay, 157 

Villaret-Joyeuse, French Admiral, 

Villeneuve, French Admiral, 
quoted, 173; in Trafalgar cam- 
paign, 196, 199, 202, 210-223 

Vistula River, 12, 78 

Vladivostok, 66, 73, 82, 83, 88; 
squadron based on, 256-261, 265, 
206, 270, 274; objective of Roz- 
hestvensky, 276-282 

Von der Goltz, General, quoted, 

WAR, principles of, 6; causes of, 
148; preparedness for, 128-134; 
beneficial results of, 292-295, 

War of 1812, commerce warfare in, 
91-99, 226-228; strategy of, 229- 

Washington, General, 164; quoted, 
169, 170 

Washington, city of, 31 

Waterloo, battle of, 82, 239 

Weapons, changes in, 6 

\\rllington, Duke of, 82, 234, 239 

West Indies, a source of wealth for 
Spain, 37; Nelson in, 196-197, 

William II, of England, 81, 277, 

Wilkinson, General, 238 

Windward Passage, 102 

Wireless, in war, 84, 85 

Yang-tse River, 276 
Yeo, British Commodore, 235 
Yucatan Passage, 102, 104 





Mahan, A.T. (Alfred Thayer) 
Mahan on naval warfare